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IEC: COVID-19 will impact 2021 local government elections

The commission briefed the National Assembly’s home affairs committee on Tuesday morning on its state of readiness for the 2021 local government elections.

FILE: An IEC official sits behind two ballot boxes as she waits for voters. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said COVID-19 would have a huge bearing on next year’s local government elections.

The commission briefed the National Assembly’s home affairs committee on Tuesday morning on its state of readiness for the 2021 local government elections.

The IEC said a free and fair election would be totally dependent on the progress of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The virus and the lockdown meant to slow it down have disrupted the work of the Municipal Demarcation Board, which means the finalisation of ward boundaries is delayed.

IEC deputy chief executive officer Masego Shiburi said: “While in the past those conditions related to tolerance and respect and adherence to the code of conduct, in the upcoming elections COVID-19 is going to play a key factor in the determination as to whether those elections can be classified as free and fair.”

Chairperson Glen Mashinini said they remained hopeful the pandemic would be under control by the time the elections were meant to happen.

“We remain ever hopeful that the pandemic will be behind us or will be under control so that the elections can take place.”

South Africans are due to go to the polls next year between August and November to choose local representatives.

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