Elections: To Delay Or Not? ConCourt Must Answer

All roads lead up the road to the top of the hill, where the Constitutional Court will on Friday hear arguments about the possible delay of the local government elections.

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) is asking the Constitutional Court to ratify its position to postpone the local government elections to February next year.

The IEC says it can not possibly host free and fair elections given Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

Although the IEC is bound by the constitution to run local government elections every five years, it is of the view that owing to “supervening impossibilities” it can not meet its obligations without a postponement.

The unprecedented move by the IEC is not without opposition.

Some political parties and civic bodies say the IEC should have rather approached Parliament to seek a postponement instead of going to the Constitutional Court.

Other parties like the Economic Freedom Fighters say they have not been able to campaign owing to the lockdown.

There is also a view that there is no need to delay the elections.

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Some also argue the Constitutional Court does not have the mandate to change the law or extend the term of councilors.

In the event that the IEC fails to persuade the court to delay the local government elections, they will have to go ahead in October as initially scheduled.

Alternatively the IEC can take the matter to Parliament, which would require about 60 days to finalise the matter.

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