Political parties divided on election postponement
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Cape Town - Political parties were left divided on Thursday after the IEC announced that a review will be set up to look at whether the local government elections in October should be postponed or not.
The DA and Cope maintained that they were against the decision of the IEC, saying the voters have been left in the lurch.
DA leader John Steenhuisen said there was no basis for the panel to look at whether postponing the elections should happen or not, with no evidence suggesting any threat.
“The DA does not agree that a review of this year’s Local Government Election date is necessary, and we reaffirm that the DA and South African voters are ready to go to the polls this year. For the DA, the election must proceed on October 27, 2021. We are ready,” said Steenhuisen.
“The IEC has shown, through the series of by-elections over the past seven months that it can hold completely free and fair elections, in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic. By-elections since November last year have seen good, and in some cases, above-average turnout which shows that voters are keen to come out, safely, and cast their ballots despite the pandemic,” he said.
The IFP said it would make its submissions to the IEC regarding its position.
IFP chief whip Narend Singh said it was about time the matter was addressed because of Covid-19.
“We have been saying as far as the elections were to be held in October we have to prepare ourselves,” he said, adding that they did not want people to be used as voting fodder if they were not vaccinated.
He said the vaccination programme has also been slow.
“That is why we have suggested that if you postpone the elections, postpone to May, we will agree with that,” said Singh.
Cope spokesperson Dennis Bloem said they were against any postponement of the elections.
He said if the elections were postponed it would be a blow to the voters who want changes at local government level.
He said many municipalities are collapsing and the people wanted to vote urgently.
“We are very clear, we have said from the start that we will not support any postponement. Almost all the municipalities have collapsed,” said Bloem.
He said even the audit reports of the Auditor-General have pointed to the collapse of local government and any postponement would be a blow to the voters.
He said the IEC must not delay the elections.