The Constitutional Court has dismissed a bid by the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) to postpone the country’s local elections.
The IEC approached the court in August after receiving a report by former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke which held that it would not be possible to hold free and fair elections on the original date of 27 October due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The IEC’s case was supported by the ANC and several other parties, while the DA opposed it.
In a majority decision handed down on Friday, the court said the IEC’s application was dismissed.
The court declared the proclamation of the elections by Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, on 3 August 2021 as unconstitutional and invalid, and set it aside.
The IEC was further ordered to determine, within three days, whether it was practically possible to hold a new voters’ registration weekend to register new voters onto the roll in time for the elections.
Should this be possible, the minister must proclaim the new election date on the day following the registration weekend.
This must fall between 27 October 2021 and 1 November 2021.
If not possible to hold a registration weekend, the minister must proclaim the date for the local election no earlier than 10 September 2021.
Eligible voters who are not yet on the roll must then be allowed to apply at the relevant municipal office before 10 September 2021.
Below is the order from the Constitutional Court that dismisses the application to postpone the elections.
(1/1) Today, 3 September 2021 at 16h30: For reasons to follow, the Constitutional Court, by majority decision, handed down an order in Electoral Commission v Minister of Co-Operative Governance and Traditional Affairs. pic.twitter.com/ZVxuCRLzYP
— Constitutional Court (@ConCourtSA) September 3, 2021