ANC, DA welcome ConCourt decision not to postpone local government vote

03 September 2021 - 20:03
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe says the ANC welcomes the ConCourt judgment.
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe says the ANC welcomes the ConCourt judgment.
Image: Antonio Muchave

The ruling ANC says it welcomes Friday's Constitutional Court order, which dismissed the Electoral Commission of SA's (IEC) application for the postponement of the local government elections.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said the party was particularly happy with the directive by the court for the IEC to reopen the voter registration process.

“We believe that it is in line with some of those that came out of the judge Dikgang Moseneke commission, especially as it related to holding free and fair elections. 

“Granted the court has set aside the proclamation, effectively now meaning that the revision of timetables and all other associated activities that comes with the work the the IEC must be doing to make sure that elections are held in a free and fair environment are then conducted, in consultation with the relevant political parties or independents that have registered interest to participate in this very election.

“The opening or allowing the IEC to open the voters' roll is the first step towards ensuring that each and every South African who could not participate in registering to participate in the election because at that voter registration weekend they were disrupted by the third wave [of Covid-19 can do so],” said Mabe.

He said the reopening of registration will also allow South Africans to participate in elections where they live because they would be free to register again.

The IEC has not yet commented on the judgment and it is unclear if it will reopen the registration for candidates which closed last week Monday, leaving the ANC panicking as it failed to fully register their candidates in 93 municipalities across the country.

But after initially applying to the Electoral Court this week to force the IEC to reopen the list process, the ANC surprisingly withdrew their application stating that it wanted to wait for the outcome of the IEC application with the ConCourt.

Mabe seems to believe the party has received its wishes. 

DA chairperson of the federal council Helen Zille who had received flak on social media for insinuating that the ANC already knew the outcome of Friday's judgment when it withdrew its Electoral Court application, said her party welcomed the judgment.

“We are thrilled with the ConCourt judgment. We are ready for the election.  The Constitutional Court had no jurisdiction to suspend or amend any part of the constitution. Their duty is to protect it - and they did.  The election must be held within the constitutionally stipulated time,” said Zille.

The EFF, which supported the postponement of the elections, criticised the time it took the ConCourt to hand down the judgment, saying it had led to confusion and uncertainty.

“We are, however, bound by the decision of the Constitutional Court and will proceed to  participate in a vigorous campaign to win these elections and deliver services to the people. We wish to warn the IEC not to misinterpret this court judgment and the instruction to open voter registration as an opportunity to reopen the process of candidate submission forward and proportional representation submission.

“All political parties were afforded the same amount of time to submit their candidates by August 23, 2021, on the same platform and under the same deadline. Any attempt to reopen that process would confirm that the IEC operates on the whims and needs of the ruling party and lacks independence and partiality,” the party said in a statement.