The IEC is moving forward with plans to prepare for next year’s local government elections but has put in place plans for the coronavirus. Picture: Schalk van Zuydam/AP
The IEC is moving forward with plans to prepare for next year’s local government elections but has put in place plans for the coronavirus. Picture: Schalk van Zuydam/AP

IEC closely monitoring coronavirus developments in lead up to 2021 elections

By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi Time of article published Mar 22, 2020

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Cape Town - The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) is moving forward with plans to prepare for next year’s local government elections but has put in place plans in case the coronavirus not being contained.

This comes after the IEC postponed several by-elections across the country after the outbreak of Covid-19.

IEC spokesperson Kate Bapela said yesterday the plans to hold municipal polls next year remained in place, unless the situation did not change in the next few months.

“The Electoral Commission is continuing with preparations for the 2021 municipal elections. With regards to the coronavirus, we will continue to monitor reports. Plans will be adjusted as circumstances change. In the meantime the Electoral Commission will support national efforts to halt the spread of the virus,” said Bapela.

Early in the week the IEC announced it had postponed by-elections in several provinces after President Cyril Ramaphosa banned gatherings of more than 100 people.

The Electoral Court had granted an urgent application by the IEC to postpone the by-elections to be held between March and May due to the coronavirus.

“The court ruled that the by-elections could be held beyond the 90-day legislated period for the filling of councillor vacancies but not beyond 120 days from the date of the order.

“The Electoral Commission will monitor Covid-19 developments over the coming weeks and will make announcements regarding the rescheduling of the by-elections after a thorough evaluation of the circumstances and in line with regulations governing the national emergency,” said the IEC.

The by-elections were due to be held in Emfuleni, Tshwane, Ekurhuleni and the City of Johannesburg in Gauteng.

The other by-elections were to be held in George in the Western Cape.

In KwaZulu-Natal, the by-elections were scheduled for Msunduzi, Mtubatuba, eThekwini and uMvoti.

The IEC was also to conduct by-elections in Makana, Amahlathi and Mbizana in the Eastern Cape.

The commission was forced to postpone the by-elections in Matjhabeng in the Free State.

In Limpopo, the by-elections in Ba-Phalaborwa and Polokwane would be held at a later date. In Mpumalanga, the by-elections in Emalahleni and Bushbuckridge would also be held later. In the Northern Cape, the IEC also rescheduled the by-elections in Dawid Kruiper and Khai-Ma.

The Municipal Demarcation Board also announced this week that it was postponing its public hearings on the ward delimitations due to Covid-19.

The board said the process had been postponed until April 9, but they would await further directives from Ramaphosa. But members of the public could continue to make written submissions until the end of April.

Chairperson of the demarcation board, Thabo Manyoni, said the situation would be monitored.

“The well-being and protection of our communities during this period is of utmost importance. It is our responsibility to take all necessary measures as a collective to curb the spread of the virus, hence we are suspending all outstanding public sessions. We further encourage communities to learn more about the virus in order to protect themselves,” said Manyoni.

Political Bureau

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