Local govt poll won’t be credible if held before November, IEC tells court

The commission made its submission in an urgent application before the apex court on Friday on why the local polls should be postponed to early next year.

Picture: Cindy Archillies/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) told the Constitutional Court that if the local government elections were held before November, they wouldn't be credible.

The commission made its submission in an urgent application before the apex court on Friday on why the local polls should be postponed to early next year.

The IEC’s application follows the Moseneke Inquiry’s report, which recommended that they be deferred to February.

Advocate Wim Trengove, representing the IEC, has argued that it would be impossible to hold free and fair elections in October when the polls are scheduled for.

The commission wants the court to declare that it may hold the polls outside the 90-day period as required by the Constitution.

Trengove said that the elections would not be free and fair if held before November: “We don’t ask whether it might have been possible or if things have been done differently, our position is as we stand here today, it is impossible to hold free, fair and safe elections by the deadline of 1 November."

But Justice Leona Theron has questioned whether the IEC wanted a constitutional amendment and why it has not approached Parliament.

“Why should this court be asked to do something if Parliament is expressly empowered to do on the commission’s version will probably not have done.”

Political parties like the African National Congress (ANC) and Democratic Alliance (DA) have joined the case with some calling for the elections to go ahead.

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