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For all the recent talk of revolution and insurrection, there is only one immediate “coup” threat in town: the proposal to suspend the October local elections.

The ANC is polling very badly and could see its support slip below 50% in the elections which, from a psychological perspective, might be enough to result in its outright defeat in the general election scheduled for 2024.

If a delay is allowed now we fear the precedent might be exploited and extended into 2024. Add to that the risk of the recent riots being leveraged to present legitimate protest action and criticism of the government as treasonous.

The civil rights risks here are immense and are not being flagged sufficiently in the media or by activists. It is perfectly legitimate to be critical of the government and to organise resistance to government; to get people onto the streets to voice their opposition.

Add to this the crippling implications of new party-funding legislation on the ability of opposition parties to campaign effectively, and by 2024 the ANC could have done enough to pull off the theft of an election.

Frans Cronje
Institute of Race Relations

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