Local government elections given go ahead despite opposition concerns
Durban - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday night announced the date for the local government elections despite concerns from some opposition parties over holding the elections while the country battles Covid-19 and the difficulty this created when running campaigns.
It appears that the President pre-empted a Thursday meeting that was scheduled between the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and various political parties to discuss the possible postponement of the elections.
The EFF, IFP and Al Jama-ah said the impact of the virus had made it difficult to run proper election campaigns and called for the elections to be postponed until next year. The DA, FF+ and Action SA rejected the proposal.
The EFF even suggested that the elections be postponed until 2024 and run concurrently with the national elections.
Ramaphosa had hinted last week while campaigning in KwaZulu-Natal that he would like elections to be held in October and last night he announced that the elections would take place on Wednesday, 27 October 2021.
“This will be the sixth time under South Africa's democratic dispensation that voters will elect leadership and public representatives at metropolitan, district and local level.
“The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs will follow the necessary legal process to proclaim the date and undertake other requirements,” Ramaphosa said urging eligible - and especially first-time voters - to ensure they are registered to participate in the elections.
By elections were held across the country on Wednesday and the IEC’s Chief Electoral Officer Mawethu Mosery said adherence to Covid-19 safety protocols was among the commission’s top priorities, as the by-elections are seen as a test of how the commission will fare in dealing with larger numbers of voters during the local government elections.
Mosery expressed relief at how voters had remained disciplined in protecting themselves and officials against the virus.
“The reports we are getting from all sides are very encouraging, because the usual wearing of masks, social distancing and sanitizing ... those have been adhered to in a big way.
“In addition to those protocols, today we were also watching how the voters queue, the kind of distances they keep between each other in queues. So all with all of those we are satisfied with the reports we’ve received so far,” Mosery had said.