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IN QUOTES | Inside the IEC's plan to take election postponement bid to the ConCourt

05 August 2021 - 10:00 By cebelihle bhengu
Electoral Commission chairperson Glen Mashinini. File picture.
Electoral Commission chairperson Glen Mashinini. File picture.
Image: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Mabuti Kali

The Electoral Commission (IEC) on Wednesday said it has strong enough reasons to ask the Constitutional Court to postpone the local government elections set to take place on Oct. 27.

IEC chairperson Glen Mashinini told a media briefing the commission had officially launched its application to have the elections postponed to February next year. 

The briefing followed the announcement of the proclamation of the elections by Cogta minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on Tuesday.

The minister said this will allow the commission to apply for the postponement of the elections, as per the recommendations made by Judge Dikgang Moseneke.

Moseneke was appointed by the IEC in May to investigate whether the election would be free and fair if it was held amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a report released last month, Moseneke said the safety of voters would be compromised if the elections took place later this year.

Here are five telling quotes from Mashinini: 

Postponing the election 

“The commission seeks to ask the Constitutional Court to declare that failure to hold the municipal elections by Nov. 1 is unconstitutional and invalid and suspend the declaration of invalidity until the end of February 2022.” 

IEC experiencing Covid-19 challenges

“Under these conditions, we are unable to perform. We will continue to experience challenges as the commission, together with our political stakeholders who will also have their own challenges in being able to conduct the subsequent steps such as the candidate nominations process.”

Moseneke report 

“The Moseneke report has enabled us to take to the Constitutional Court our submission that it is not possible under these circumstances for us to discharge our responsibilities. As matters stand, the election has been declared and we are opening the timetable as per the prescripts of the law.”

What if the ConCourt declines the IEC request?

“We believe we have a reasonable and clear case to present to the ConCourt. One would not wish to be speculative about the outcome of that process ... The remedy options available to us are for the amendment of the constitutional provisions but we have come to the conclusion that it is not feasible due to the time frames.”

Preparing for the election 

“The IEC stakeholders are in an untenable position where preparations are proceeding on the election for Oct. 27, 2021, while anticipating the outcome of the Constitutional Court application.”