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Oral submissions to inquiry on local government elections start next week

The inquiry into ensuring free and fair local government elections later this year, headed by retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke, has received about 3 000 voice and written submissions from the public, the inquiry said on Tuesday. 

In May, Moseneke was hired by the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) to review whether the local government elections scheduled for 27 October should proceed or possibly be postponed if they will not be “free and fair” because of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The inquiry’s report is scheduled to be delivered to the IEC by 20 July. 

“The inquiry will hear oral submissions from invited stakeholders in the week commencing Monday, 28 June 2021, in Centurion. The inquiry will be inviting the electoral commission, the department of health and the ministerial advisory committee on Covid-19 to make oral submissions,” Moseneke said in a statement. 

The hearings will be open to the media and the public, under strict level-three regulations.

The stakeholders will be joined by independent medical experts, electoral bodies and political parties, who have also asked to make submissions.

“The inquiry will, in the course of this week, publish a final schedule of hearings, detailing who will be making oral submissions, along with the dates and times that the submissions will be made,” the statement said. 

The inquiry is expected to weigh the submissions and any scientific evidence that will be presented before it, and thereafter make findings and any necessary recommendations.

“After careful deliberation, the inquiry will make findings, together with recommendations, to the Electoral Commission on the likelihood or otherwise, that the forthcoming 2021 general local government elections will be free and fair,” the statement said

Moseneke’s probe into the elections is being held in terms of section 14(4) of the Electoral Commissions Act.   

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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.

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