The Chief Electoral Officer for the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), Sy Mamabolo, has denied claims the commission was hellbent on elections at all cost.
Mamabolo was speaking on Monday before the start of the hearing of oral submissions on whether this year’s local government elections can be held.
In his opening remarks, Mamabolo addressed responded to the allegations.
“There is a point I want to clarify at the outset and that is the IEC is hellbent on an election at all cost,” said Mamabolo.
“That is not the position of the IEC. The position of the IEC is that it had to technically prepare for the conduct of an election should such an election be lawfully called.
“And by technical preparation we mean, procuring voting stations, training stuff who will run the electoral process, and preparing arrangements for candidate nomination.
“We did indicate that the constitutional requirements for election are two-fold, one there is a regularity impulse of an election, in other words there has to be an election on regular basis, and to that extent we needed to be technically ready to deliver an election that in congruent with regularity requirement of the constitution,” explained Mamabolo.
“We are working to be technically ready in order to meet the constitutional requirement of regularity yet in so far as there is a constitutional responsibility to ensure that elections are free and fair we have instituted a process to which all South Africans are happily participating.”
Former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke’s inquiry on free and fair local government elections during the Covid-19 pandemic kicked off its public hearings on Monday.
The IEC has previously been criticised, particularly EFF leader Julius Malema.
Malema has previously accused the IEC of being too close to the ANC, raising doubts about its ability to conduct free and fair municipal elections in October.
Speaking at a press conference in Johannesburg a few weeks ago, Malema accused Mamabolo of being controlled by the ANC from Luthuli House.
He accused the commission of being driven by corruption, saying some of its members “can’t wait to print posters of the IEC, calling for elections and ballot papers and T-shirts and contracting their own relatives”.
“If they were driven by rationality and the need to save lives, they would have waited for the former deputy chief justice to release his report,” said Malema.
The inquiry will hear oral submissions from the electoral commission, as well as representatives from the health department and health NGOs.