The Electoral Commission announced that the national voter registration weekend ahead of the upcoming Local Government Elections will be held on 17–18 July 2021. The measures also take into consideration the experiences of a number of other countries in conducting elections successfully during the pandemic. Mashinini said the Commission is not oblivious to the uncertainties and unpredictability of the pandemic, and the risks associated with hosting events that bring together large numbers of people. “The Commission wishes to benefit from an independent evaluation of all factors that have a bearing on the possibility or otherwise of a free and fair elections,” he said. Mashinini said the proclamation of the elections by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) Minister, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, triggers a series of electoral processes, including the closing of the voters’ roll and the opening of candidate nominations.
“This proclamation must take place by early August in order to allow a minimum of 86 days for the Commission to undertake all its obligations, in terms of the elections timetable. “In order to allow the Commission to benefit from the report, it needs to be submitted by mid-July at the latest,” he said. Who can make submissions? As part of the process, Justice Moseneke will consider submissions from various stakeholders represented within the National Political Party Liaison Committee and key electoral stakeholders, including the administration of the Electoral Commission. The process will also consider representations from health
authorities, in particular on matters related to the trajectory of the pandemic, as well as efforts to manage, mitigate and reach community immunity through vaccination. It will also engage disaster management authorities, including CoGTA, and other relevant government structures. Moseneke said he could not reject the request to lead the evaluation, saying it is an “extraordinary assignment”. “I could not ignore the importance of this undertaking within the context of our ongoing journey to entrench and strengthen democracy in our country. “This is the first time in the history of our nascent democracy that we have faced such extraordinary circumstances. How we respond as a country will have far-reaching consequences for our democracy and for our people,” he said.