Local government elections must go ahead between October 27 and November 1: ConCourt

03 September 2021 - 16:54
The ConCourt has ordered that SA's local government elections must go ahead between October 27 and November 1 this year. File photo.
The ConCourt has ordered that SA's local government elections must go ahead between October 27 and November 1 this year. File photo.
Image: Alaister Russell

The local government elections must take place between October 27 and November 1, the Constitutional Court has declared.

In an order released on Friday afternoon, the country's apex court said the application by the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) to have the vote postponed had been dismissed.

But it also ruled - in what was a majority, not unanimous, decision - that a proclamation by co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma that the vote should happen on October 27 was “unconstitutional, invalid and is set aside”.

The IEC had launched a ConCourt bid to postpone the fifth local government elections after adopting a report from former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke, who had recommended that the elections be deferred to no later than February 2022 if they are to be free and fair.

Dlamini-Zuma proclaimed October 27 as the date for the local government polls. However, she said this was done to meet statutory and constitutional obligations, and the date could change pending the apex court's decision.

As part of its decision, the court said the IEC must, within three days of the order, decide whether it was “practically possible” to hold a voter registration weekend to allow new voters to register or for those already on the voters’ roll to change their details — and must tell Dlamini-Zuma immediately of its decision in this regard.

If it was not possible to hold a registration weekend, the court said, then Dlamini-Zuma must, no earlier than September 10, issue a proclamation of a date for the local government vote “in the period from Wednesday October 27 to Monday November 1 2021, both days inclusive”.

It also said that between Friday’s order and September 10, those who wanted to register or change their details can do so at the relevant municipal office.

The court said that reasons for its decision would follow.

The IEC said it had noted the order.

“The implications of the Constitutional Court judgment means that the commission is now required to ensure that it prepares for an election to be held by November 1, 2021. The commission will meet over the weekend to chart a way forward.

“In line with the orders of the Constitutional Court, the commission will make announcements relating to the electoral programme on Monday. A meeting with the national party liaison committee will also be convened on an urgent basis,” the IEC said in a statement.

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