The Electoral Court on Wednesday morning authorised the postponement of today’s eight by-elections in four provinces.
The by-elections on Wednesday 30 June, 2021 were postponed for a period not exceeding 120 days.
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) lodged an urgent application with the Electoral Court this week requesting it to postpone the by-elections due to the implementation of lockdown Level 4 restrictions.
The latest measures by the government to contain the spread of Covid-19 prohibit almost all public gatherings, including political gatherings.
“The Electoral Court this morning authorised the postponement of the by-elections for a period not exceeding 120 days from the date of the order. The court also granted the Electoral Commission leave to approach the court for further relief should it be necessary,” the IEC said in a statement.
Wednesday’s by-elections were to take place in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape and Western Cape to replace councillors who have died, resigned or dismissed by their political parties.
The polls would have taken place across 48 voting stations involving 71,305 registered voters. Forty candidates from 14 political parties and three independent candidates were contesting the elections.
The elections came as the IEC grapples with how to conduct free and fair local government elections in October as the country battles the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
The commission appointed former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke to lead an inquiry to investigate the feasibility of holding these elections.
The IEC said it would continue to assess the prevailing conditions including the level and scope of restrictions imposed in terms of the Disaster Management Act to determine an appropriate date for the postponed by-elections.
“The Electoral Commission will engage with the relevant provincial MECs for cooperative governance and other key stakeholders including political parties and candidates who are registered to contest the by-elections in this regard.”