Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said government was working on measures to mitigate the impact of Covid-19.
Cape Town – Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has indicated that regulations may need to be changed to accommodate local government elections.
But that will be determined by the Covid-19 situation in the build-up to the polls in October.
She said while retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke was looking at whether the conditions were conducive to hold the polls in October, government was also working on other measures to mitigate the impact of Covid-19.
The country has been said to be technically in the third wave with some of the provinces reporting a spike in infections.
The EFF has called for the postponement of the elections and they want the local government polls to be synchronised with the provincial and national elections in 2024.
But other parties including the DA want the local government elections to continue as scheduled and two weeks ago they launched their campaign for the elections.
Dlamini Zuma, who was replying to the IFP’s written question in Parliament, said they were monitoring the situation closely.
“We are carefully monitoring developments with regards to the Covid-19 pandemic. Government has gazetted a number of regulations to limit the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Adjusted levels 1 and 2 of the regulations have opened more space for political activity.
“While these regulations are in place, preparations made for the recent by-elections and the upcoming local government elections by stakeholders such as the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), political parties, government, communities etc, must be done in accordance with the provisions set out in the regulations.
“Working closely with the IEC, we have put processes in place in response to challenges that come with a global pandemic. The IEC has recently appointed Justice Dikgang Moseneke to lead the inquiry into ensuring free and fair local government elections during Covid-19.
“The salient features of the terms of enquiry for the inquiry are to: enquire into, make findings and report on, and make recommendations concerning the likelihood that the Electoral Commission would be able to ensure that the forthcoming 2021 general local government elections will be free and fair, in view of challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic; and measures promulgated by the government to curb the continued spread of the pandemic, and indicate additional measures that the Electoral Commission may be required to implement in order to realise free and fair elections within the context of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Dlamini Zuma.
“The IEC is also considering the introduction of an online platform to enable the registration of eligible voters. The regulations may change going forward, depending on the Covid-19 situation, and advice from the Minister of Health and the National Coronavirus Command Council,” Dlamini Zuma added.