Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

IEC says it is ready for election, but cautions it has not control over Covid-19 spikes

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) says it is technically ready and all systems are in place to host a free and fair democratic local government election in October. This despite growing concern over a looming  third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“There were two schools of thought that said we should postpone the election from political parties, others said we should consider these elections to be moved to 2024 and merge with the general elections,” said IEC chair Glen Mashinini at a South African Local Government Association (Salga) conference on Thursday.

“Another school [of thought] said let’s wait for six months to a year and see how the Covid-19 pandemic unfolds. However the legal reality is that elections have to be hosted this year.  Neither the department of health or the department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) has come to us and given any indication as to why we won’t be able to hold the general elections,” he added.

“We are adamant that we will host a free and fair election in October. We are hoping that the vaccination [drive] would have advanced by then. But it is not a prerequisite for us to host the elections,” said Mashinini.

The chief executive of the IEC, Sy Mamabolo, assured the Salga leaders assembly that the organisation would deliver a free and fair election.

“We are comfortable that we will deliver on our part. We have procured all logistical requirements needed to run the election. From ballot papers, to vaccination of the sites that will be used. Our uncertainty comes from the trajectory of the pandemic, even though mechanisms are in place, we don’t know how that is going to pan out,” said Mamabolo.

He said that the IEC would ensure a strict consideration of all disaster management regulations. 

“The next couple of months will give us a crucial stance for us to decide the probability of a free and fair election [given the pandemic and its possible effect on voter turnout].”

“…voter turnout is critical, it helps and informs us of how much people are engaged in the local democracy,” Mamabolo said. 

He said the commission was not anticipating a drop in voter turnout, but it would not “relax” and would shortly be embarking on a countrywide media campaign on voter education, which would utilise national and local radio stations and print media.

“The planning process is in full force already and we will announce our approach to these elections soon. Plans are at an advanced stage.” 

Mamabolo stressed that it was not up to the IEC to decide whether elections would take place or not, but the government.  

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Chris Gilili
Chris Gilili is a climate and environmental journalist at the Mail & Guardian’s environmental unit, covering socioeconomic issues and general news. Previously, he was a fellow at amaBhungane, the centre for investigative journalism.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Micro-hydropower lights up an Eastern Cape village

There is hidden potential for small hydropower plants in South Africa

MK committee to look into Gupta influence in military veteran’s...

Party insiders say a report on the Guptas’ association with leaders of the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association will help rid the structure of Jacob Zuma’s most loyal allies

More top stories

‘Vaccinate inmates to avoid crisis’

Delaying the vaccination of prisoners could lead to a public health disaster

Naspers and Prosus in share swap Catch-22

Asset managers are concerned about the share exchange but others welcome it because Naspers has dominated the JSE

As South Africa’s Covid infections surge, the number of jabs...

Hospitals are under strain, nurses are burning out and infections are on the rise, but there are limited Covid-19 vaccine doses available

SAA: PIC allegations are Harith’s albatross

Sipho Makhubela assures that the private equity firm has what it takes to raise the capital to get SAA flying again
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×