IEC: No Constitutional provision that allows for postponing elections
The IEC's deputy CEO Masego Shiburi says the commission is proceeding with preparations to hold the local government elections later this year.
The five-year term of the current municipal council administration ends on 4 August 2021 and the Constitution states that elections must be held within 90 days, which makes the deadline 1 November 2021.
On Tuesday, the IEC updated Parliament’s portfolio committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs on the commission's readiness for the polls.
Some political parties, including the EFF and the UDM, have called for the 2021 local government elections to be postponed.
The IEC says that there are no constitutional mechanisms to allow for an election beyond 90 days, aside from an amendment to the Constitution."
We know that the Constitution and the law place a ceiling on the term of a municipal council, that term is 5 years. According to our understanding of the Constitution, there is also no mechanism in the Constitution to accommodate a date beyond the 90-day period, other than by way of a Constitutional amendment.Masego Shiburi, Deputy Chief Electoral Officer - IEC
Shiburi says an inter-ministerial committee on elections has been established to ensure safe and peaceful elections.
He says the IEC has a duty to run local government elections this year unless there is a lawful postponement.
Shiburi explains that Cogta Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma will proclaim the date of the elections.
On our part, we are preparing in terms of the provisional scheme as it currently stands, and if decisions are made that allow for a lawful postponement of an election, the electoral commission will then fall in line... and adjusts its plans accordingly.Masego Shiburi, Deputy Chief Electoral Officer - IEC
We think that under regulations Alert Level 1, there is scope for an election to be held.Masego Shiburi, Deputy Chief Electoral Officer - IEC
Indeed, we have received representations... to the effect that local government elections that fall due later this year should be moved or postponed to a later date when there is a greater level of certainty.Masego Shiburi, Deputy Chief Electoral Officer - IEC
The view of the electoral commission is as follows: We do not have the responsibility to set or determine the date for the election. That responsibility rests with the minister responsible for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.Masego Shiburi, Deputy Chief Electoral Officer - IEC
Secondly, as a constitutional body, we must stand ready to deliver elections whenever it is called within 90 days.Masego Shiburi, Deputy Chief Electoral Officer - IEC
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