20 July 2021
Centurion – The Electoral Commission today received the final report of the Inquiry into Ensuring Free and Fair Elections during Covid-19 from former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke.
The Commission will urgently study the report and its recommendations before making final decisions on the implications of the report for the Local Government Elections scheduled for 27 October 2021.
As part of this process, the Commission will also consult with key stakeholders including political parties via the Political Party Liaison Committee system as well as various state roleplayers.
The Commission is cognizant of the very limited time available to make a final decision. Next weekend the Electoral Commission has scheduled a national voter registration weekend on 31 July and 1 August. Thereafter on 2 August, the Minister of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is expected to proclaim the elections which will trigger an 86-day election timetable.
With this in mind the Commission expects to make a final announcement on the way forward within the next few days.
The Commission is extremely grateful to Justice Moseneke and his team who conducted this Inquiry under extremely tight timelines necessitated by the Constitutional requirement to hold Local Government Elections before 1 November 2021. Despite these pressures, in just 61 days Justice Moseneke and his team managed to conduct a thorough, comprehensive, transparent and highly inclusive investigation into whether free and fair elections can be conducted under the current COVID-19 conditions.
What is clear is that the Moseneke Inquiry has significantly contributed to the national conversation about what constitutes freeness and fairness of elections. The Constitutional complexities involved – including balancing the legal and social aspects of our democracy – have clearly emerged during this process.
What has also emerged is the significant difference of perspectives on this matter from the wide range of participants.
The Commission hopes that this final report on the Inquiry will not only assist the Commission in making a final determination regarding the upcoming Local Government Elections but will also contribute to the emergence of a national consensus of what conditions are necessary for free and fair elections and how we can ensure the safety of voters, candidates, election staff and all other participants.
A copy of the Report can be downloaded on this link: Justice Moseneke Inquiry Report Final