Durban - Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said ensuring free and fair local government elections in 2016 would be a litmus test for Independent Electoral Commission chair Vuma Mashinini.
The Constitutional Court set aside on Monday the results of by-elections in several Tlokwe wards around Potchefstroom, after it found that the by-elections were not free and fair.
In a statement, Maimane said that the ruling “highlighted major shortcomings in the institution”.
“I will be requesting an urgent meeting with Mashinini where he must set out his turnaround strategy for the Chapter 9 institution prior to the commencement of voter registration next year,” he said.
Maimane said he would request a timeline and steps Mashinini would take to ensure free and fair elections.
“Mashinini’s appointment was challenged by the DA given his close affiliation with President Zuma. How he approaches yesterday’s ruling, and the actions he takes to secure free and fair elections next year, will put his impartiality to the test,” Maimane said.
“The decision of the Constitutional Court to set aside the by-elections held in Tlokwe in 2013 on the basis that they were not free and fair is indicative of the waning independence of the IEC and their potential to sanction illegal elections, unquestioningly, until courts overturn them.”