Electoral Commission delays voter registration weekend by two weeks
Centurion – The Electoral Commission has postponed the voter registration weekend
by two weeks in the light of the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic currently
sweeping the country.
At a special meeting today, the Commission resolved to reschedule the voter
registration weekend from 17-18 July to the weekend of 31 July – 1 August.
The decision was made following a review of the current conditions including rate of
infections and hospitalizations over the past seven days and its impact on preparations
for the registration weekend.
The Commission also considered concerns raised by political parties through the
National Party Liaison Committee of proceeding with voter registration as well as
warnings from health officials and other experts during last week’s oral submissions
before the Moseneke Inquiry regarding the risks of proceeding with a voter registration
weekend under the current conditions. Health experts told the Inquiry last week that
the current third wave of infections was likely to persist until at least the end of the
Taking into consideration the various factors including the constitutional timeframe
which requires the elections to be held before 1 November 2021 and the minimum
period required for the election timetable, the Commission resolved to postpone the
voter registration weekend to the latest possible date which is 31 July – 1 August.
The two-week postponement will have a knock-on effect on certain dates and activities
associated with the proclamation and election including delaying proclamation by four
days until 6 August. However, the Commission remains confident that successful
elections can be held within a reduced election timetable of 82 days rather than the
original 86 days.
The Electoral Commission today briefed the National Party Liaison Committee on the
decision and the revised timelines and plans.
The Commission has taken this very difficult decision in the interests of saving lives of
voters, election staff, party representatives and all citizens while still preserving the
Constitutional requirement to hold elections.
While the Commission accepts that two weeks’ delay may not be ideal to allow the
third wave to begin to decline in all provinces, the Commission has very limited scope
to move the registration weekend without postponing the elections themselves.
Most party representatives at the meeting welcomed the decision to postpone for two
weeks although parties in favour of a postponement of the elections urged for a longer
The Commission is still awaiting the final report of the Moseneke Inquiry into whether
the elections can be free and fair if they proceed as scheduled on 27 October. The
Inquiry is being led by Former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke who is
scheduled to present his report and its recommendations to the Commission by 21
The Commission will continue to monitor developments regarding the COVID-19
pandemic, the outcome of the Moseneke Inquiry and all other relevant factors over the
Any further changes to the election plans will be made in consultation with political
parties, government authorities and other key stakeholders and will be communicated
with all stakeholders.
ISSUED BY THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION
Ensuring free and fair elections