EFF leader Julius Malema has called for the postponement of this year’s local government elections, saying holding them in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic could result in loss of lives.
Malema made the call during a press briefing in Johannesburg on Thursday (10 June).
“We reiterate our call, despite our own readiness, for the 2021 elections to be postponed in the interest of saving millions of lives. The duty to preserve lives is the highest of duties. People must be alive before they can vote and be voted for,” he said.
Earlier this week, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) launched a mobilisation campaign towards the elections even as an inquiry into whether or not it will be free and fair is only starting.
IEC appointed former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke last month to lead this inquiry. On Thursday, it called on the public to submit views on the matter.
Malema expressed confidence in Moseneke’s ability to lead the inquiry and prepare an objective report, adding that the EFF will submit its views to him.
‘No free and fair elections’
However, he slammed the IEC for proceeding with its mobilisation campaign launch before Moseneke has completed his inquiry.
“There will no free and fair elections in SA when one of its critical components, called campaigning, is suspended according to Covid-19 regulations,” the outspoken EFF leader said.
“We call on the IEC to cease activities regarding 2021 local government elections and give space to the Moseneke review committee to do its work. If the IEC is ready now it will still be ready when the justice concludes his report.
“Whatever the conclusion, as things stand, COVID-19 regulations for gatherings are a direct threat to the constitutional human rights provision to freedom of assembly.”
Earlier this year, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced 27 October 2021 as the elections date. Several political parties, including Democratic Alliance and ActionSA, have supported the holding of elections this year.
The ANC, at its National Working Committee meeting on Monday, said the elections should be held “within the timeframes provided for in the constitution and the law, unless it is objectively impossible for this to happen.”