COVID-19 pandemic could delay 2021 municipal polls

The Electoral Commission has briefed Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs on its readiness to handle the Local Government Elections in 2021. Courtesy #DStv403

JOHANNESBURG - The COVID-19 pandemic is creating uncertainty over whether local government elections can be held next year but, the Electoral Commission says it’s on track to hold the polls.

Over 90-percent of the 26.5-million registered voters have had their addresses captured.

By law, the next local government elections have to be held by no later than 1 November 2021.

READ: COVID-19 pandemic threatens 2021 local government elections

The IEC says it needs at least 86 days from the date an election date is proclaimed, to prepare.

Already the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the process of determining ward boundaries.

The Electoral Act also has to be amended before the next municipal polls, to protect personal information contained on the voters’ roll.

There are also still 1.2-million voters who don’t have an address attached to their name.

READ: ANC mulls over postponing local elections to 2024

The commission says the coronavirus could impact on the validity of the next polls but it says a decision on whether to hold one single election, is not within its ambit.

Despite the uncertainty, the IEC is forging ahead with plans to modernise the voting process - with an online registration system.

It will also be replacing the controversial zip zap machines, with a new voter management device to minimise attempts at double voting.

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