The Electoral Court on Thursday noted the declaration of a state of national disaster and the measures announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa to contain the spread of the coronavirus, particularly the prohibition on gatherings of more than 100 people.
Following an application by the Electoral Commission and the chief electoral officer regarding the holding of by-elections, the Electoral Court announced that it recognised that these measures would hamper the IEC from preparing for and conducting free and fair elections in areas where by-elections were due to be held.
As such, the Court has authorised the IEC to suspend any activities which are not compatible with the prohibition of gatherings, including voter registration activities, for the duration of the declared national state of disaster.
The Court recognised that, under these circumstances, the IEC will not be able to hold by-elections within 90 days from the date on which vacancies arose, as required by the Local Government Municipal Structures Act, and has since given the IEC 120 days from 19 June 2020 to hold these by-elections.
The IEC will be required to report monthly on the situation and the steps they are taking to prepare for the by-elections.
(Compiled by Kaunda Selisho)