Opposition parties want elections to go ahead amid Covid-19 fears

Cope has suggested that the EFF and ANC could be scant on donations at the moment to fund their campaigns, hence their need to postpone municipal elections.

Opposition parties want this year’s local government election to go ahead amid fears that Covid-19 would pose a threat to its integrity.

This comes after the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema reiterated the party’s support for the proposal to postpone, which was made by the Independent Electoral Commission last year.

The ANC and the EFF want the polls to be moved and combined with the 2024 general election. But the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Congress of the People (Cope) have rejected the proposal, advocating for this year’s election to go ahead as planned.

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DA leader John Steenhuisen points out that countries around the world have been having successful elections while facing the burden of the pandemic.

“The election must continue within the constitutionally mandated time frames. Regular elections are a key cornerstone of any democracy. Many countries around the world from New Zealand to the USA, Uganda etc have conducted elections during the pandemic without compromising democratic participation.

Steenhuisen suggested the ANC was trying to avoid voters punishing the party at the polls for its poor handling of the Covid-19 pandemic response and the delayed vaccine roll-out programme.

“The attempt to delay is simply a desperate attempt to avoid political accountability for the mishandling of the pandemic and the subsequent employment and vaccine crises.”

Cope spokesperson Dennis Bloem argued that the proposal was unconstitutional and accused the ANC and EFF of using Covid-19 as an excuse to cover up sinister reasons for wanting the election to be postponed.

Voter apathy is feared to be on the rise due to the tarnished image of political party leaders during the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture testimonies heard over the last year, and growing dissatisfaction with government’s response to the pandemic.

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“The country must thank the Zondo commission for the evidence that has exposed funders of the ANC during election campaigns and after elections,” said Bloem. There was damning evidence from Angelo Agrizzi on how Bosasa funded the ANC campaigns for years to get tenders in return.

“In the case of EFF, the two municipal councils, Tshwane and Johannesburg, have closed the taps and VBS Bank is no more there.”

The party suggested the EFF and ANC could also be scant on party donations at the moment to fund their campaigns, citing reports that over the past few months, the ANC has struggled to pay its staff.

Last year the ANC lost a court case in which Ezulweni Investments was claiming R102 million for election campaign posters of 2019.

Meanwhile, municipalities continued to deteriorate under crushing financial pressure and administrative failures.

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“The insistence of the EFF that the local government elections must be postponed, must be rejected, the majority of the municipalities have collapsed. People all over the country are struggling to get proper services. We must get rid of these incompetent corrupt councils,” Bloem said.


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