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Minister Dlamini Zuma’s Statement on the Process Towards the 2021 Local Government Elections

Members of the media

Fellow South Africans

Good Afternoon

Thank you for joining us today for a briefing on the process leading up to the 2021 local government elections. These elections are taking place under unusual conditions, as we are facing a global pandemic.

On the 3rd of August, I proclaimed that the date for the local government elections to be on 27 October 2021. Subsequently, the Electoral Commission filed papers in the Constitutional Court to postpone the 2021 Local Government Elections.

I was cited as respondent number 1 in that matter, where the IEC asked the court to authorise me to withdraw the proclamation of an election date and issue a fresh notice for a date before 28 February 2022. Their argument for the postponement was informed by Justice Moseneke’s report which concluded that ‘It is not reasonably possible to or likely that the local government elections scheduled for the month of October 2021 will be held in a free and fair manner’. 

The Constitutional Court handed down an order on 3 September 2021 which dismissed the IEC’s application to defer the Local Government Elections and set aside the August proclamation.

Setting aside the proclamation means that the voter’s roll is re-opened, as we speak, voter registration is allowed and it is progressing.  The court instructed the IEC to determine whether it is practical to hold a voter registration weekend. It also directed the elections be held any day between the 27th October and 1st November 2021. 

I affirm the commitment stated in my explanatory affidavit to abide by the decision of the Constitutional Court, therefore I accept the Constitutional Court decision to set the proclamation aside.

In complying with the Constitutional Court order, the IEC has decided that a physical registration weekend is a necessity ahead of this election and has subsequently scheduled registration for the weekend of 18 and 19 September 2021.  

After consultation with the IEC, we have come to the determination that this year’s Local Government Elections will be held on the 1st of November 2021. This is in accordance with the Constitution, read with the Municipal Structures Act, as the Act prescribes that elections must be held within 90 days after the conclusion of a five-year term of local government. We will officially proclaim this date on the 20th of September 2021, after the voter registration weekend.

We could have chosen the originally proclaimed day of the 27th of October 2021, but we have chosen the most outer date as the IEC indicated that it will need as much time as possible to prepare for the elections.

These elections are important in advancing our young democracy. They mark the 21st anniversary since the establishment of a democratic local government system in our country. This sphere of government remains the hope of our people as the sphere closest to them and is in the coal face of service delivery.

Fellow South Africans, let me also caution as I stated in the beginning that we are going to hold the elections during a pandemic that continues to ravage the whole world. We, therefore, urge everyone to still exercise caution and observe protocols and regulations as we go to register, campaign, and to vote.

I thank you.