The Star Late Edition
Local elections are important and must go ahead as planned
THERE is a debate raging over whether the country should hold local government elections this year. The ANC and IEC want the elections to go ahead as planned. A date has already been set: it’s October 27, 2021.
On the other hand, the EFF is opposed to elections being held in October this year. The red berets want elections be postponed to a later date in the year or early next year. Reason? To save lives. Covid-19 is at the centre of the debate.
My view is that the elections should continue as planned. If Covid-19 cases will be high by then, technology should be used. Those who don’t have access to the internet should be granted access. Or other means should be made available.
Rural areas are challenged in as far as internet is concerned. There is not enough infrastructure for the internet to be installed. In a case where elections will be held online, a plan must be devised to accommodate the rural folk.
The pertinent question is: Is there enough money to conduct local government elections? If I’m not mistaken, the IEC has raised its concern that it does not have enough budget to conduct municipal elections.
If the IEC does not have enough funds to conduct elections, then it’s a problem. That will make its work difficult. Therefore, the government should raise money to help the electoral body conduct elections effectively.
Municipal elections might not be as popular and prominent as the national and provincial elections but they are equally important. So an effort should be made to encourage every eligible voter to vote in October.
Lastly, there are countries that have held elections successfully amid the Covid-19 challenge. The elections were declared free and fair. So, there are case studies already. We can learn from them.