South Africa: Ticking All the Legal (And Political) Boxes So Municipal Elections Can Happen, One Way or the Other


Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma on Tuesday announced she had to proclaim 27 October as the 2021 municipal poll date, but only so the Electoral Commission could approach the courts for a postponement. It's an interesting legalistic take on a political -- and constitutional -- pickle.

The basic argument is that without having formally proclaimed and gazetted 27 October 2021 as the local government election date, the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) could not approach the Constitutional Court to request a postponement.

Up until now, the municipal poll date was merely announced -- which is what President Cyril Ramaphosa did on 21 April 2021.

"The minister (of Cooperative Governance) is not empowered to postpone the elections to a date beyond 90 days after the expiry of the term of the municipal councils... " said Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma in her statement on Tuesday on the prescribed window for new elections, which in 2021 ran from early August to 1 November.

"The minister is bound to fulfil her constitutional and statutory obligations to timeously proclaim the election date for the elections. There is currently no court order that would excuse the Minister from fulfilling her constitutional and...

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