The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) recently announced that it would be postponing their voter registration weekend due to the ongoing Covid-19 third wave.
The registration was originally scheduled to take place this weekend, from July 17 to 18, but has no been pushed back to the weekend of July 31.
“The decision was made following a review of the current conditions including rate of infections and hospitalisations over the past seven days and its impact on preparations for the registration weekend,” the IEC said in a recent statement.
“The commission also considered concerns raised by political parties through the National Party Liaison Committee of proceeding with voter registration as well as warnings from health officials and other experts during last week’s oral submissions before the Moseneke Inquiry regarding the risks of proceeding with a voter registration under the current conditions.”
The Justice Moseneke Inquiry on Free and Fair Local Government Elections during Covid was established under deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke to examine the impact of Covid-19 on the upcoming municipal elections, currently scheduled for October 27. Its final report is expected at the end of July.
“Taking into consideration the various factors including the constitutional time-frame which requires the elections to be held before November 1 and the minimum period required for the election timetable, the commission resolved to postpone the voter registration weekend to the latest possible date,” the IEC said.
“The two-week postponement will have a knock-on effect on certain dates and activities associated with the proclamation and election including delaying proclamation by four days until August 6.
“However, the Commission remains confident that successful elections can be held within a reduced election timetable of 82 days rather than the original 86 days.”
The IEC said that while it was focused on saving lives and minimising the risk of infection, it had little room to manoeuvre without postponing the actual elections.
They will be waiting on the final report from the Moseneke Inquiry on whether it is possible for the local elections to be fully free and fair during the Covid-19 pandemic.