Civil Society Groups Ask for Local Government Elections to Continue

Civil Society Groups Ask for Local Government Elections to Continue

  • Two civil society groups are campaigning for the October local government elections to continue
  • Speaking at the Moseneke Inquiry, they are asking the IEC to put measures into place to help prevent the spread of Covid-19
  • The Active Citizens Movement (ACM) and the Helen Suzman Foundation stated that local government elections are important now more than ever as most local governments are facing corruption

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Two civil society groups, namely the Active Citizens Movement (ACM) and the Helen Suzman Foundation, have asked the Moseneke Inquiry not to postpone the upcoming local government elections happening in October.

They have concerns that postponement of the local government elections could jeopardise the status quo of elections being free and fair.

The Moseneke Inquiry, which is headed by Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, has been hearing oral testimony in regard to the local government elections since Monday.

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Civil Society Groups, Local Government Elections, coronavirus
The Active Citizens Movement (ACM) and the Helen Suzman foundation say in order for elections to be free and fair, October local government elections must continue. Image: Darren Stewart/Gallo Images
Source: Getty Images

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According to News24, the civil society groups believe that elections may continue if safe and reasonable Covid-19 measures are put in place.

According to the ACM, the country cannot afford to postpone elections because local governments throughout the country are in disarray due to poor governance, lack of service delivery and corruption.

The Helen Suzman Foundation stated that the IEC should put measures into place to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The ACM presented a possible implementation to curb the spread of the coronavirus such as an electronic socially distance voting system.

These civil societies have reiterated that elections should go on only if safe to do.

According to TimesLive, two experts Wits University vaccinologist Prof Shabir Madhi and the head of the SA National Aids Council, Dr Fareed Abdullah do not share the civil societies' sentiments that elections should proceed.

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They stated that for that to happen vaccine rollout in the country needed to be drastically improved to reach herd immunity in time for elections.

“The safest time to have the election is when at least 80% of people who are at high risk of developing severe Covid-19 symptoms are vaccinated,” said Madhi.

Madhi says the likelihood of South Africa reaching 80% by September was low. Both experts predict that a fourth wave will most likely happen in October.

Push for postponement of by-elections at Electoral Court, IEC announces

Briefly News recently reported that the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has said it will urgently approach the Electoral Court to postpone eight by-elections scheduled for Wednesday, 30 June. This follows the implementation of alert level 4 of the national lockdown restrictions across South Africa.

In a statement on Monday, the IEC said it took the decision to seek the court’s approval to postpone the by-elections at an emergency meeting.

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Push for postponement of by-elections at electoral court, IEC announces

The meeting was convened after the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa of additional measures to help curb the alarming infection rate being observed amid the country's third wave of the pandemic.

According to News24, Wednesday’s by-elections were the final by-elections scheduled to be conducted prior to the cessation of by-elections ahead of the Local Government Elections which are scheduled for October this year.

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Source: Briefly News

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