Picture: BLOOMBERG/WALDO SWIEGERS
Picture: BLOOMBERG/WALDO SWIEGERS

Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) chair Glen Mashinini said on Monday that the majority of political parties supported the decision to reopen the candidate nomination process.

He said a meeting of the party liaison committee (PLC) was held earlier on the same day, explaining that it was clear from the proceedings that there were different interpretations among the political parties about whether the Constitutional Court’s order permitted the IEC to reopen the candidate nomination process.

The IEC had approached the apex court seeking an order to declare that holding elections beyond the five-year expiry term of municipal councils was constitutional.

The electoral body partly based its application on recommendations in a report by former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke, which found that under Covid-19 conditions the municipal elections would not be free and fair if they were held in October.

On Friday the apex court ordered that the elections be held between October 27 and November 1, as mandated by the constitution. It is yet to provide reasons for its ruling.

The IEC’s decision to reopen the candidate nomination process effectively gave the ANC a lifeline as the governing party failed to register candidates in 94 municipalities across the country — including big metros such as Tshwane and Mangaung.

On Monday, Mashinini said the IEC had taken advice on the Constitutional Court’s order and “the commission is of the view that amending the timetable to reopen nomination is reasonably necessary in the circumstances”.

He said the majority of the political parties in the PLC provided “sufficient consensus to enable us to move forward”.

“Yes, there were parties that did not agree with the interpretation [that we should reopen the nomination process]. That’s the divergence of views that emerged in the discussions. But we also need to understand when we talk about PLC and consultation, it doesn’t mean that the commission is seeking permission.”

Mashinini said the voter registration weekend would be held on September 18-19 at 23,151 voting stations that would be opened from 8am to 5pm on both days.

Co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is expected to proclaim a new election date on September 20, he said.

mkentanel@businesslive.co.za

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