Our take: Party spats as election draw near

In case you missed it, our local government elections are going ahead on 1 November 2021. Our top court decided against attempts by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to move the polls to give it more time to prepare. That means we’re voting in just two months and now there’s all kinds of craziness, with political parties at each other’s throats. 

Remember when we told you in mid-August that the ANC had barely met the deadline to submit its lists of representatives for various locations to the IEC? Well. It turns out the party couldn’t get its act together despite a last-minute deadline extension, and missed out on submitting names for more than 100 municipalities!  🙁

This means that the party could be unseated as the governing party in 35 municipalities or lose its status as the main opposition party without a single vote being cast, according to ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte. Other parties could simply walk into the gaps.

The ANC is still attempting to submit its candidates via court processes but the DA and other parties aren’t having it. The ANC says the others are trying to elbow out the competition instead of winning on their own merits. Maybe. But we say: you should have had your house in order and, boy, is this an embarrassing look for you guys. 🤷🏽‍♀️

Still, we have to call out DA Federal Chairperson Helen Zille’s Twitter claims that the IEC is somehow in cahoots with the ANC over the whole thing, and also insinuating that the ConCourt tipped off  the ANC about its ruling on the election date. She was proven wrong. But her conspiracy theories are SUPER damaging for our democracy and pretty irresponsible given the lack of evidence to back it up. 

So what happens next? In a nutshell: lots of court processes. When the ConCourt ordered that elections go ahead between 27 October and 1 November it also ordered the IEC to open up voter registration weekend and make other “reasonably necessary amendments” to allow for a smooth election. It was within these “reasonable amendments” that the IEC opened the candidate submission for the ANC and other parties. The DA is fighting this in court. Suffice to say, the decision of whether the ANC is allowed to submit names for these 100+ municipalities is a fairly big deal. We’ll keep you posted.

This article appeared as part of The Wrap,16 September 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.