On 23 July 2021, the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) resolved to adopt the final report of the ‘Inquiry into Ensuring Free and Fair Elections during COVID-19’ by former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke.
Moseneke was tasked with inquiring into whether the forthcoming 2021 Local Government Elections will be free and fair, given the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the measures taken by the government to curb the continued spread of the pandemic. Having relied on expert opinion, scientific opinion, the laws around elections, as well as submissions from the public, political parties, and civil society organisations, Moseneke found that it was not reasonably possible or likely that the Local Government Elections scheduled for October 2021 would be free and fair. He recommended that the IEC approach a court of competent jurisdiction (a court that has the legal ability to hear and determine the matter) to seek a just and equitable order for the deferral of the elections to a date not later than February 2022.
Accordingly, the IEC resolved to:
- urgently brief Senior Counsel to launch an application in a court of competent jurisdiction to seek judicial authorisation to conduct the election outside of the constitutionally prescribed periods, and
- immediately postpone the upcoming voter registration weekend scheduled for 31 July and 1 August to a later date.
The press release of the IEC can be accessed here.
The final report of the Inquiry on Free and Fair Local Government Elections during COVID-19 can be accessed here.
Details of the Inquiry on Free and Fair Local Government Elections during COVID-19 can be accessed here.
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