By Kaya 959 News
Voter registration has been delayed for two weeks. According to the Electoral Commission, this is due to the third wave of COVID-19 infections currently sweeping the country.
The decision was undertaken at a special meeting held on Wednesday. IEC CEO, Sy Mamabolo, said voter registration will be held from 31 July – 1 August.
“The decision was made following a review of the current conditions including rate of infections and hospitalisations over the past seven days and its impact on preparations for the registration weekend,” Mamabolo said.
He said the IEC had also taken into consideration submissions made by political parties and medical expert advice.
Mamabolo said health experts told the Inquiry last week that the current third wave of infections was likely to persist until at least the end of the month.
“Taking into consideration the various factors including the constitutional timeframe which requires the elections to be held before 1 November 2021 and the minimum period required for the election timetable, the Commission resolved to postpone the voter registration weekend to the latest possible date,” he said.
Proclamation delayed by four days
Mamabolo said the two-week postponement will have a knock-on effect on certain dates and activities associated with the proclamation and election including delaying the proclamation by four days until 6 August.
“However, the Commission remains confident that successful elections can be held within a reduced election timetable of 82 days rather than the original 86 days. The Electoral Commission briefed the National Party Liaison Committee on the decision and the revised timelines and plans.”
He added: “The Commission has taken this very difficult decision in the interests of saving the lives of voters, election staff, party representatives and all citizens while still preserving the Constitutional requirement to hold elections,” it said in a statement.
“While the Commission accepts that two weeks’ delay may not be ideal to allow the third wave to begin to decline in all provinces, the Commission has very limited scope to move the registration weekend without postponing the elections themselves.”
Mamabolo said the Commission is still awaiting the final report of the Moseneke Inquiry into whether the elections can be free and fair if they proceed as scheduled on 27 October.
“The Inquiry is being led by Former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke who is scheduled to present his report and its recommendations to the Commission by 21 July 2021.
“The Commission will continue to monitor developments regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, the outcome of the Moseneke Inquiry and all other relevant factors over the coming weeks.”