The civil rights organisation AfriForum will join the lawsuit over the Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC’s) application to postpone this year’s local elections. AfriForum obtained a legal opinion over the merits of the IEC’s application.   

Glen Mashinini, Chairperson of the IEC, confirmed at a media conference today that the application to the Constitutional Court will be served on all political parties and that all court documents will be available on its website.   

“We will of course consider the content of the application and amend our documents accordingly. Chaos reigns in many municipalities, and the Constitution allows for regular elections to enable citizens to change the composition of their municipal council,” says Morné Mostert, AfriForum’s Manager for Local Government Affairs. “We believe that the implementation of the correct measures will ensure that the elections can continue safely and within the framework of the Constitution.”    

The IEC also announced an amended calendar to ensure that it meets all requirements to continue with the election on 27 October.   

“AfriForum will continue to prepare and mobilise our 155 branch structures at ground level to participate as election observers. As civil rights watchdog, we also ensure that citizens’ right to vote is protected. It is important for us to not only take note of the election rules that must be complied with, but also the application of COVID-19 regulation to ensure people’s safety during the elections.”  

The Constitution and the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act 117 of 1998 agree that municipal councils’ terms of tenure may not be longer than five years. Moreover, the IEC must hold an election within 90 days of the expiry of this five year term. “It seems that the Constitution’s requirements in this instance are mandatory, allowing for very little – if any – lead space for a court to allow for a postponement of the election to later than 3 November 2021,” Mostert concludes.     

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