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DA warns of Constitutional crisis if local Elections are deferred

Constitutional Court

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is warning of a constitutional crisis if the Constitutional Court agrees to defer the local government elections from October to February next year.

The country’s biggest opposition party said it was going to court to oppose the Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC) bid to get the municipal polls postponed.

The IEC said conditions under the coronavirus pandemic did not allow for free and fair elections. But the DA said there were no reasons either health or logistical that made a postponement necessary.

The party’s federal chairperson Helen Zille announced earlier on Wednesday the party has applied to be joined to the IEC’s ConCourt bid to delay the elections and will argue why this should not happen.

“It is our submission that none of the IEC’s reasons for seeking a postponement of the election pass muster and hold water.”

Zille said the IEC had put the apex court in an impossible position as it was effectively asking it to violate the Constitution.

“In fact, if the Constitutional Court were to help either suspend or amend the Constitution, it would create a fundamental constitutional crisis – because the Constitutional Court would put itself above the Constitution and set a precedent that in future could lead to a small number of people in the ConCourt unilaterally amending the Constitution as and when they see fit.”

The party contends it would still be possible for the IEC to run municipal elections in October by rescheduling a voter registration weekend.

It said while mass rallies would not be allowed due to COVID restrictions, candidates would still be able to campaign using social media, radio and television and house meetings and visits.

Source – EWN