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Concourt rules against IEC, polls to go ahead in South Africa

By Kailene Pillay | IOL |

The Constitutional Court has ordered the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) to hold local government elections on any day between October 27 and November 1 this year.

File Photo: Chris Collingridge
File Photo: Chris Collingridge

The Constitution Court has dismissed an the urgent application by the IEC, seeking to postpone the 2021 local government elections.

The Concourt further instructed the IEC to hold a special voter registration weekend – the date of which must be announced within three days of the order which was handed down on Friday.

“The Commission must, within three calendar days after the date of this order, determine whether it is practically possible to hold a voter registration weekend with a view of registering new voters and changing registered voters’ particulars on the national voters’ roll in time for local government elections to be held on any day in the period from Wednesday, 27 October 2021 to Monday, 1 November 2021 (both dates inclusive),” the order read.

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The commission’s legal action followed the proclamation of the election date as October 27 by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

The commission had appointed retired justice Dikgang Moseneke to chair an inquiry looking into whether this year’s elections could be held in a free and fair manner, given the Covid-19 pandemic.

Moseneke recommended a postponement of the elections, to February 2022, citing the rising number of infections.

The IEC’s court application followed its the adoption of the Moseneke report.

The commission and the government could not call for a postponement of elections outside the 90-day window period which ends on November 1, the apex court ruled on Friday.