IEC wants by-elections postponed over Covid-19 restrictions
Rustenburg – THE Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has approached the Electoral Court to postpone by-elections following the implementation of Covid-19 level 3 lockdown restrictions, which have re-introduced prohibitions on political activities.
On Monday, spokesperson Kate Bapela said the commission was seeking the court’s approval to postpone by-elections scheduled for January 20, February 3 and 17 because the latest regulations curtail political activities and will compromise the freeness and fairness of the elections.
"The electoral commission noted that even though many of the preparations for the by-elections have been concluded, and protocols are in place for the safe conducting of elections as piloted in November and December, the regulations prohibiting political activities will seriously hamper campaigning by candidates and political parties," she said.
She said the move to approach the Electoral Court followed consultations with political parties, and all parties have expressed support for the postponement.
She said the by-elections scheduled for March 3 remained on track, but the commission noted that voter registration was scheduled for January 23 to 24 and that parties and candidates might be hindered from undertaking proper preparations for the registration weekend given the current regulations.
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday extended the Covid-19 level 3 lockdown restrictions, prohibiting indoors and outdoors gatherings.
"The electoral commission will continue to monitor developments closely with regards to the restrictions and regulations with a view to whether to proceed or approach the court for a postponement of March 3 by-elections, as well as the rescheduling any postponed by-elections as soon as possible," Bapela said.
African News Agency (ANA)