Cape Town – The Western Cape government has announced plans to oppose the application by the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) to the Constitutional Court to postpone the local government elections.
The IEC approached the Constitutional Court earlier this month seeking to have the 2021 local government elections postponed to February next year, as recommended by a panel headed by retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke last month.
The commission’s legal action follows the proclamation of the election date as October 27 by Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
The commission had appointed Justice Moseneke to chair an inquiry into whether this year’s elections could be held during the pandemic.
Justice Moseneke recommended that the elections be postponed to February next year, because of the rising number of coronavirus infections.
On Tuesday morning, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said the provincial government would oppose the postponement of the election.
“[The postponement] risks setting a dangerous precedent whereby suffrage and related rights can be deferred and without following the correct constitutional process. As per the Constitution, the matter must be brought before Parliament and not the judiciary.
“We must ensure that our elections continue ahead as planned, as this is in the best interest of our democracy,” Winde said.
Local Government MEC Anton Bredell added: “A key component of any democracy, one that is enshrined in our Constitution, is holding regular elections, and we must protect this right.
“Going against a constitutionally mandated election process – as suggested by the postponement that is being sought by the IEC – is simply not something we can take lightly as the Western Cape government.
“If the election does get postponed, then, at the very least, due process must be followed and the matter must be referred to Parliament.”
The Constitutional Court will hear the application on Friday, August 20.
The Western Cape government will oppose the application through Bredell in his capacity as the 10th respondent in the matter.