- The Constitutional Court ruled on Friday afternoon the municipal election must be held between 27 October and 1 November.
- Political parties have welcomed the ruling.
- This week the ANC withdrew an application to challenge the deadline by the IEC after it failed to submit candidate lists in almost 100 municipalities.
Political parties have welcomed the ruling made by the Constitutional Court to dismiss the Independent Electoral Commission's (IEC) application to postpone the local government elections.
The Apex court ruled on Friday afternoon the municipal election must be held between 27 October and 1 November and ordered Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma to proclaim a new date not later than 10 September.
GOOD Party General Secretary Brett Herron said the order addresses the unlawful exclusion of these South Africans who are entitled to vote.
"We welcome the Constitutional Court order issued this afternoon that provides for the local government elections to take place before the 1 November 2021. This preserves the supremacy of the constitution."
Herron added they look forward to contesting in 45 municipalities across 5 provinces.
One South Africa Movement (OSA) leader Mmusi Maimane said this was a positive development as the mandate to govern is expiring and must be renewed by the people.
"It is no secret that the state of local government is at crisis level, as towns across the country are bankrupt and unable to deliver constitutionally guaranteed basic services. We therefore cannot allow the terms of office of politicians to be extended while they fail in their mandate to govern for all citizens," Maimane said.
The court application was brought by the IEC.
Many political parties and civil society movements had been admitted either as intervening parties or friends of the court. Most of them argued against any delays.
ActionSA National Chairperson Michael Beaumont has ripped into the IEC's bid to postpone the local government elections saying they have shown poor leadership.
"It is now incumbent on the IEC to ensure that all steps are taken to open the voters’ roll and ensure that every eligible South African, particularly the youth, are allowed to elect ethical, competent, and committed representatives to local government.
"The IEC has shown poor leadership in ensuring South Africans have confidence in the coming election process – it is now high time for them to step up to the plate and perform their constitutional duty."
DA leader John Steenhuisen who has been vocal in support of the elections being held this year said it has been an embarrassing debacle for the IEC.
"Given the fact that the IEC has one job to do, which is to ensure that free and fair elections take place within the constitutionally mandated timeframe - and given this resounding rejection of their attempt to deny voters this fundamental right - it is perhaps time for the chairperson of the IEC, Glen Mashinini, to reconsider his future in the organisation."
Earlier this week the ANC abruptly withdrew the application to challenge the deadline set by the IEC after it failed to submit candidate lists in almost 100 municipalities.
The ANC had not responded to request for comment at the time of publishing.
News24 had previously reported the Western Cape government had opposed the application by the IEC. The province's local government MEC Anton Bredell said the Western Cape is prepared for the coming elections and will be able to ensure a smooth transition following the elections.
While Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said: "We have had five years to prepare for elections and we're aware of Covid-19. We will be ready in the Western Cape."
The EFF has been calling for a postponement of the elections since last year.
In a statement the party said: "All political parties submitted in the same platform and had the same deadline, and precedence remains that political parties that have failed to meet the IEC’s deadline have faced the consequences of not being on the ballot. It was not a democratic crisis then, and it won’t be now simply because it is the ANC."