The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it will oppose the Electoral Commission’s (IEC) Constitutional Court application to postpone local government elections.
Acting on the outcome of an inquiry that found it was not possible to hold fair elections given the Covid-19 pandemic, the IEC approached the Constitutional Court on Wednesday for an urgent hearing to delay the polls.
This week on Tuesday, the Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma proclaimed the 2021 local government elections for 27 October 2021.
Procedurally, the proclamation of the election enabled the IEC to seek a postponement.
But the DA on Thursday said it would oppose any move by the IEC to delay the elections.
DA leader, John Steenhuisen, warned “should the IEC persist” with its court action, his party would “fight for a timeous election and voter registration”.
The inquiry – that was headed by former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke – recommended that the elections be postponed to no later than the end of February next year.
The IEC is requesting condonation for this deviation from the norm from the Constitutional Court.
The DA is having none of that.
“Through our lawyers we have given the IEC a deadline of tomorrow, Friday 6 August, to agree to stick to their prescribed timeframe for holding the elections,” said Steenhuisen.
“Failure by the IEC to do so will leave us no choice but to defend our constitution and the democratic rights of voters in court.”
The majority party, African National Congress (ANC), has indicated that it is fully behind the IEC’s move to seek a postponement.
ANC deputy secretary-general, Jessie Duarte, on Thursday said the ANC would join the IEC in its court application to have the local elections moved to next year.
However, the DA insists the IEC must follow the constitution, which prescribes that local government elections must take place within 90 days of the end of the five-year term of municipal councils.
In the unlikely event that the Constitutional Court declines the IEC application, Chairperson Glen Mashinini has assured that the commission remains technically ready for the 2021 local government elections.