latest election polls

Photo: IEC / Twitter

Local government elections: IEC compelled to proceed despite COVID-19

Preparations for local government elections has to be undertaken by the IEC despite fears of a surge in COVID-19 infections.

latest election polls

Photo: IEC / Twitter

Whether the local government elections go ahead or not, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has to proceed with administrative preparations for the event.

Ibrahim Fakir, Research Director of the AUWAL Socio-Economic Research Institute, clarified this election point of contention after political parties called for its postponement. Political parties are fearful of the impact of the event in the midst of COVID-19.


On Wednesday, the IEC officially launched the 2021 elections and informed the public of voter registration set to take place on 17-18 July, 2021 around the country. South Africa has 15 million eligible voters who are not on registered on the voters’ roll.

Fakir appeared in a Morning Live interview and explained to South Africans that the IEC, by law, has to prepare South Africa for the local government elections.

“A lot goes into preparing for an election [from a logistical perspective in setting up polling stations, creating public awareness and voter registration]. Politicians generally blame the IEC when they do not perform well. Don’t be critical of the IEC they have to prepare from an administrative perspective. Whether the elections go-ahead is a political decision,” said Fakir.

According to Fakir, the IEC report to be released in July, will convey to citizens whether the current climate would be conducive for elections.


He said the report would assess whether political parties would be able to reach out to voters and vice-versa in light of surging COVID-19 infections.

A way to circumvent overcrowding at polling stations on the day of local government elections would be to increase the number of polling stations and extending voting for two days.

The downside of two voting days he said were the chances of vote tampering and political parties blaming the IEC in the event of poor performance.

Another option for the IEC was applying for a dictum of necessity through the Constitutional Court, to extend local political bearers time in their local municipal offices, by ten months.

The fact that 15 million people are not on the voter’s roll is not the fault of the IEC, said Fakir.

“The IEC has done a lot to create awareness on voting itself. People who were registered for the national elections (in 2019) did not turn out because of a lack of trust and confidence in political parties. There’s a crisis of confidence in political parties and regulatory bodies in South Africa. It is not an IEC failure,” he added.