Electoral Commission approaches Electoral Court for postponement of by-elections as second wave of COVID-19 sees political gatherings prohibited

The Electoral Commission has once again approached the Electoral Court to postpone by-elections following the implementation of COVID-19 level 3 lockdown restrictions which have re-introduced prohibitions on political activities.

The Electoral Commission is seeking the court’s approval to postpone by-elections scheduled for 20 January, 3 February and 17 February on the basis that the latest regulations curtail political activities imperiling the freeness and fairness of the elections.

The Electoral Commission noted that even though many of the preparations for the by-elections have been concluded, and protocols are in place for the safe conducting of elections as piloted in November and December, the regulations prohibiting political activities will seriously hamper campaigning by candidates and political parties.

The court application seeks to extend the 90-day period within which by-elections of councillor vacancies must take place for the following by-elections:

By-election date Province           Municipality      Ward/s      Registered voters
20 January Gauteng      EKU - Ekurhuleni      43      17 886
  KwaZulu-Natal      KZN242 - Nqutu      11      5 742
  Mpumalanga      MP325 - Bushbuckridge      21      6 609
3 February Free State      FS194 - Maluti a Phofung      25      4 330
  Gauteng      JHB - City of Johannesburg      7 & 17      37 953
  Limpopo      LIM344 - Makhado      38      5 681
  Limpopo      LIM476 - Fetakgomo Tubatse      13      6 451
17 February Eastern Cape      EC441 - Matatiele      11      3 813
  Gauteng      TSH - Tshwane Metro      3; 58; 88; 92      55 988
  KwaZulu-Natal      ETH - eThekwini      110      19 291
Total: 6 provinces      10 municipalities      14 wards      163 744

The approach to the Electoral Court followed consultations with political parties via the National Party Liaison Committee during which all parties expressed support for the postponement.

By-elections scheduled for 3 March by-elections currently remain on track. However, the Commission notes that voter registration is scheduled for 23 to 24 January and parties and candidates may be hindered from undertaking proper preparations for the registration weekend given the current regulations which remains in place until at least 12 January.

The Electoral Commission will continue to monitor developments closely with regards to the restrictions and regulations with a view to whether to proceed or approach the court for a postponement of the 3 March by elections as well as the rescheduling any postponed by-elections as soon as possible.


Ensuring free, fair and credible elections

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