Retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke says free and fair elections cannot be held during the Covid-19 pandemic. PHOTO: Twitter

JUDGE Dikgang Moseneke’s inquiry has concluded that that the free and fair elections in South Africa will not be possible in October this year due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Briefing the media about the outcome of his Inquiry into Ensuring Free and Fair Local Government Elections during Covid-19, Moseneke said his decision was based on reports by nine medical health experts.

Moseneke said the inquiry into whether elections will be free and fair during COVID19 concludes that it is not reasonably possible that elections will be held in a free and fair manner as provided by provisions of the Constitution.

Moseneke recommended that the elections will be free and fair if held not later than the end of February 2022.

He noted that the large gatherings are bound to be super spreader events.

He said COVID-19 is expected to remain a threat until most of the population was vaccinated.

He said the report was guided by the Electoral Act and the prescripts of the Constitution.

The postponement of the elections will save many lives, said Moseneke.

He said the political parties and civic groups were divided over the report and free and fair elections.

“The outcome of the inquiry was not driven by political parties or civil society,” said Moseneke.

The IEC has welcomed the final report of the Inquiry into Ensuring Free and Fair Elections during Covid-19 from Moseneke.

The commission said it will urgently study the report and its recommendations before making final decisions on the implications of the report for the Local Government Elections scheduled for 27 October 2021.

“As part of this process, the Commission will also consult with key stakeholders including political parties via the Political Party Liaison Committee system as well as various state roleplayers,” said the IEC.

“The Commission is cognizant of the very limited time available to make a final decision. Next weekend the Electoral Commission has scheduled a national voter registration weekend on 31 July and 1 August. Thereafter on 2 August, the Minister of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is expected to proclaim the elections which will trigger an 86-day election timetable.”

The IEC added: “With this in mind the Commission expects to make a final announcement on the way forward within the next few days. The Commission is extremely grateful to Justice Moseneke and his team who conducted this Inquiry under extremely tight timelines necessitated by the Constitutional requirement to hold Local Government Elections before 1 November 2021. “

Next weekend the Electoral Commission has scheduled a national voter registration weekend on 31 July and 1 August.

Thereafter, on 2 August, the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is expected to proclaim the elections which will trigger an 86-day election timetable.

With this in mind, the Commission expects to make a final announcement on the way forward within the next few days.

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