ANALYSIS | Elections 2021: An intriguing battle ahead

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(Graphic: Rudi Louw)
(Graphic: Rudi Louw)

Saturday marks 50 days until voters head to the polls to vote in the municipal elections.

Since President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in April that elections would take place in October, political parties have held their breath, after the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) asked former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke to examine whether the elections would be free and fair due to the pandemic if they proceeded in October.

Following Moseneke's findings that the elections should be postponed and rather take place next year, the IEC approached the Constitutional Court. 

Last week, the court ordered that the elections should proceed by no later than 1 November this year. 

Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma proclaimed the elections, even though the IEC's application to the Constitutional Court was in process. The Constitutional Court order subsequently rescinded that proclamation, requiring a new one which will be effected soon after 10 September.

Political parties and the IEC are now anticipating a last minute scramble ahead of the 1 November date. This is despite early informal campaigning and some administrative preparations by the IEC, respectively. 

If anything, the 2021 municipal elections will certainly be one for the history books. 

Will the IEC be sufficiently prepared to ensure that the process is fair and free? 

Will there be a low voter turnout due to the pandemic?

Are coalitions and alliances the future of politics, especially at local government level?  

Five analysts unpack these issues for you.

You can read their submissions below. 

Elections 2021 - Unpredictability, instability may cost parties votes

Political parties have tended to focus on traditional methods and, with municipal elections only a few weeks away, outcomes could be unpredictable, writes Thina Nzo.

Elections 2021 - It is a non-stop rollercoaster ride

The ANC remains vulnerable in metropolitan councils ahead of the municipal elections, writes Sethulego Matebesi. He argues that, for this reason, there is a great possibility of new coalitions being formed, particularly in hung councils.

Elections 2021 - Who benefits from ConCourt ruling?

There are two reasons why the DA and the EFF should welcome the IEC's decision to allow parties to submit their candidate lists following the recent Constitutional Court ruling, writes Thembinkosi Gcoyi and Calvin Matlou.

Elections 2021: No more empty promises. Parties must deliver

Political parties need to be aware that, in the upcoming municipal elections, the electorate will be standing up to make their voices heard by those who govern and, if they are not heard, parties may find themselves on the backfoot come the next election, writes Paul Kariuki.

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