Moseneke finds local elections will not be free & fair if held in Oct

This follows days of submissions from political parties and various organisations of whether the elections should be held or not during the COVID pandemic.

Former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke at an IEC press briefing in Centurion, Johannesburg on 20 May 2021. Picture: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - Former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke and his panel have found that "it is not reasonably possible or likely" that the October local government elections will be held in a free and fair manner.

Moseneke chaired the inquiry into the feasibility of the upcoming elections and heard submissions from political parties and various organisations on whether the elections should go ahead or not amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his final report into the matter, which he released on Tuesday, he recommended that the elections be held by the end of February 2022.

“We conclude that it is not reasonably possible or likely that local government elections scheduled for the month of October 2021 will be held in a free and fair manner as required by the Constitution. We find that the scheduled elections are likely to be free and fair if they are held no later than the end of the month of February 2022.”

Moseneke said parties were fiercely divided on whether the elections should go ahead in October.

He has given the panel's reasons, saying voter registration would be impossible.

“This is so because subsisting lockdown restrictions will stand in the way of parties and independent candidate accomplishing acts prescribed by the timetable and electoral laws.”

And this has a bearing on political parties.

“What is important is that political parties and independent candidates must be able to participate in the elections fully and effectively; this means they must be able to get their political message to their chosen electorate.”

Moseneke political gatherings could become super spreader events.

“The concern is heightened where South Africa is placed under an alert level that imposes more severe restrictions.”
IEC chairperson Glen Mashinini said the commission would now study the report in depth.

WATCH LIVE: Moseneke releases report into feasibility of local elections

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