South Africa: Moseneke enquiry
Updated August 2021
On 20 May 2021, The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) tasked former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke to lead a process to evaluate the impact of Covid-19 on conditions conducive for the holding of free and fair elections scheduled for 27 October 2021. The Inquiry is in line with Section 14(4) of the Electoral Commission Act (51 of 1996) which provides for the Commission, should it deem necessary, to publish a report on the likelihood or otherwise that it will be able to ensure that any pending elections will be free and fair. Thus the enquiry undertook to undertake an urgent appraisal of all the relevant legal, socio-political, health, practical and other considerations and submit a report to the Commission in the month of July.
Thus, Justice Moseneke spoke to a number of stakeholders including:
- Political parties;
- Electoral stakeholders;
- Government Departments;
- Medical experts;
- Electoral monitoring bodies;
- Civil society organizations and
- Local government authorities.
In its submission to the enquiry, EISA stated that it was of the view that the election should proceed as planned. EISA found that "while the IEC continues to express confidence in its ability to conduct the elections at a technical level, and all stakeholders demonstrate reasonable levels of caution and care during political activities in relation to the elections, the 2021 Local Government Elections can and should proceed as planned".
EISA found that national elections can and have been conducted in other parts of the world without harming the health or political rights of the country's citizens. Additionally, EISA found, further postponement to a planned election often lead to further postponement and heightened uncertainty in the political space which may have its own risks.
On 20 July 2021 Justice Moseneke officially released his report to the IEC, the report recommended "that the scheduled elections are likely to be free and fair if they were to be held not later than the end of February 2022." The report also made recommendations on how free, fair and safe elections may be held in February 2022.
In its capacity as subject matter analysts, EISA has been invited by various media houses including the SABC, eNCA and Newzroom Afrika to provide analysis on the issue of a possible postponement
IEC 2021 "Submissions received", [www] https://www.elections.org.za/freeandfair/lge2021/submissions (accessed 13 Aug 2021).
IEC 2021 "Justice Moseneke Inquiry on Free and Fair Local Government Elections during COVID", [www] https://www.elections.org.za/freeandfair/ (accessed 13 Aug 2021).