Dlamini-Zuma: No legislation gives govt or IEC power to postpone polls

Minister of Cooperative Governance, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, said that the IEC was expected to approach the Constitutional Court this week to urgently ask for the local government elections to be postponed.

FILE: Cogta Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - The government has officially proclaimed 27 October as the date for the local government elections, but this doesn’t mean the polls will take place on that day.

Minister of Cooperative Governance, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, said that the proclamation was needed to allow the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to go to the Constitutional Court with a legally fixed date in order to ask for a postponement.

An inquiry by former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke found that elections held in October would not be free or fair due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that the IEC should approach a competent court and ask for a postponement to no later than the end of February next year.

Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said that the IEC was expected to approach the Constitutional Court this week to urgently ask for the local government elections to be postponed.

A great deal hangs on the court’s decision:

“If the ConCourt says it is not agreeing to the postponement, I don’t think we have another recourse. Because nobody has the powers – there’s no legislation that gives the government, or Cogta or the IEC to postpone the elections,” she said.

"If there was, we would have postponed them without going to court," the minister added.

The 27 October date for the elections gazetted on Tuesday is a legal formality to allow for the electoral commission to go to court to ask for a postponement.

It is in line with the electoral timetable drawn up by the IEC, which must still be adhered to until the local government elections are officially postponed.

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.