Ramaphosa urges parties to exercise caution while campaigning during a pandemic

In less than 50 days, South Africans will go to the polls and some political parties have already hit the ground running, parading their candidates to supporters and potential voters.

FILE: The president said the upcoming elections would be a balancing act between upholding South Africa’s democratic right to vote while safeguarding residents from COVID-19. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - With election season now in full swing, President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged leaders of political parties to ensure their campaign rallies do not lead to a resurgence of COVID-19 infections.

The president on Sunday night announced that from Monday, South Africa moves to adjusted level 2 lockdown, easing some restrictions on the movement of people and public gatherings.

The easing of the restrictions comes weeks before the local government elections scheduled for 1 November.

In less than 50 days, South Africans will go to the polls and some political parties have already hit the ground running, parading their candidates to supporters and potential voters.

These campaigns are expected to gain momentum after President Ramaphosa opened the way for gatherings of up 250 people indoors, up from 50 and 500 outdoors, up from 100.

The president said the upcoming elections would be a balancing act between upholding South Africa’s democratic right to vote while safeguarding residents from COVID-19.

“It is vital that as we undertake this great democratic exercise, we do everything within our means to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19 infections, at the same time, we need to ensure that the pandemic does not limit the ability for South Africans to freely exercise their democratic right to elect their local councillors,” said the president.

Ramaphosa said political parties had given their word that their election campaigning would adhere to the State of Disaster Regulations and all COVID-19 health protocols.

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