South African election board will file application to delay vote

South Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission may file an application with the Constitutional Court on Wednesday to delay a municipal vote due in October.

The necessary documentation has been signed and now it’s a matter of compiling it, IEC chairman Glen Mashinini told reporters at a briefing in Johannesburg.

The government on Tuesday declared 27 October as election day, a formality required to enable the authorities to file the court application to delay the vote.

Under South Africa’s constitution, the election must be held within five years and 90 days of the last local government vote in August 2016. However, a panel headed by former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke found the contest was unlikely to be free and fair if that deadline was adhered to because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The IEC accepted Moseneke’s recommendation that the plebiscite be delayed.

Moseneke said the vote is likely to be free and fair if held no later than the end of February. Mashinini said that’s the commission’s target date and if the court grants the application, he’s hopeful the election can proceed on the last Wednesday of the month, which would be 23 February.

The government will support a court-ordered postponement, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma told reporters in an online briefing on Tuesday.


Read: Online voter registration launches in South Africa

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South African election board will file application to delay vote