IEC approaches ConCourt over postponement of elections
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Johannesburg - The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) will file an urgent application in the Constitutional Court on Wednesday, seeking to postpone the 2021 local government elections.
The commission's legal action follows the proclamation of the election date as October 27 by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
On Wednesday, IEC chairperson Glen Mashinini said the commission's court application would allow the apex court to weigh in on a heavy constitutional matter.
The commission had appointed retired justice Dikgang Moseneke to chair an inquiry looking into whether this year's elections could be held during a global pandemic.
Moseneke recommended a postponement of the elections, to February 2022, because of the rising number of coronavirus infections.
The IEC's court application follows the adoption of the report.
The commission and the government cannot call for a postponement of elections outside the 90-day window period which ends on November 1.
Mashinini said the court application would ask the apex court to grant the IEC permission to hold the forthcoming local government elections outside the 90-day period.
"Additionally, authorising the Minister of CoGTA to withdraw the notice calling the forthcoming local government elections and setting 27 October 2021 as the date on which they will be held; and issue a fresh notice calling and setting a date before 28 February 2022 for the forthcoming local government elections."
Mashinini said that if its preferred option did not convince the court, then the IEC sought an order declaring that failure to hold elections by November 1 was unconstitutional and invalid. And that the court suspends the declaration of invalidity until the end of February 2022.
The IEC is also seeking an order declaring that all municipal councils remain competent until new councils is chosen.
The IEC will ask the court to supervise its work in the lead up to a possible postponement of the elections, until next year.
While the IEC awaits an outcome from the Constitutional Court, its election calendar kicks off as normal.
The proclamation of the election date has resulted in the IEC having to prepare for the elections.
The voters roll will remain closed unless the court grants a postponement.
Political parties will have to submit their nominated candidates for councils by October 23.