Opposition parties make their voices heard

By Roland Mpofu Time of article published Aug 20, 2021

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The Independent Electoral Commission’s application to postpone the local government elections has drawn mixed reactions from various sectors of society.

The application follows an inquiry chaired by former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke finding that the current Covid-19 lockdown regulations did not provide a conducive environment for free and fair elections.

The inquiry recommended that the elections scheduled for October 27 be held by no later than February next year when the contry would have likely vaccinated enough people to reach the target for herd immunity.

One of the newly established political parties camped outside the Constitutional Court since the early hours of Friday morning in protest against the IEC’s application.

The governing ANC was joined by the main opposition party, the DA, the African Transformation Movement (ATM), Forum 4 Service Delivery (F4SD), IFP and the Makana Independent New Deal as intervening parties in the IEC’s application.

Meanwhile, ActionSA, which is led by the former Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba, staged a picket outside court.

ActionSA Johannesburg constituency campaign manager, Zark Lebatlang said they arrived early in the morning to observe and to make sure that the Constitution of the country is not tampered with by IEC’s bid.

“Today is one of the important constitutional proceedings that are happening that will determine whether the elections proceed or not and we have seen other parties being applicants to this.

“So as ActionSA we are here to observe and to support that the elections go ahead because the IEC should have made necessary arrangements and to have taken the precaution, especially when getting closer to elections.

“This is a legal matter, it’s about the law and the constitution of the country,” he said

Lebatlang blamed the IEC for its inaction which has created a scenario in which a postponement of the elections would deprive South Africans of a proper opportunity to register to vote and make their voices heard.

Asked what will happen if the elections are postponed, Lebatlang said: “The important thing we have to focus on is free and fair elections where South Africans have the right to register first and to go to the voting stations and to be safe in those voting stations so that democracy and the will or the people can strive.

“We have made submissions which the IEC should have taken such as increasing the number of voting stations and the number of the voting days so that social distancing and other safety measures can be observed.”

Lebatlang added that postponing the elections will benefit those political parties who are facing the imminent electoral collapse for having failed South Africans.

Other four lobby groups and non-governmental organisations – the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution, Freedom Under Law, the SA Institute of Race Relations,and AfriForum were admitted as friends of the court and permitted to make brief oral submissions.

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