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Nearly 30 by-elections postponed due to coronavirus – IEC

Chief Electoral Officer Sy Mamobolo said South Africans are going to have to start rethinking ways of going to the polls.

IEC officials count ballots at the Brixton Recreational Centre voting station in Brixton, Johannesburg on 8 May 2019. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG – The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said close to 30 scheduled by-elections have already been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The IEC said the pandemic, which has spread to over 200 countries and territories, has changed the face of elections.

Chief Electoral Officer Sy Mamobolo said South Africans are going to have to start rethinking ways of going to the polls.

“There is no doubt that the post-COVID-19 electoral landscape will be significantly different in many respects.”

Mamobolo said the IEC is in constant contact with government on when the by-elections can resume and, when they do, several factors need to be considered.

“How do we ensure that there is social distancing in the queues and the provisions of [personal protective equipment] for our staff and general behaviour at voting stations. All that array of processes are currently being reviewed to minimise transmission of the virus.”