IEC review of Election date completely unnecessary: DA ready to go to polls

The DA does not agree that a review of this year’s Local Government Election date is necessary, and we reaffirm that the DA and South African voters are ready to go to the polls this year.

For the DA, the election must proceed on 27 October 2021. We are ready.

South Africans facing increasingly dire circumstances are crying out for change, which can only come through the ballot box at regular and timeous elections.

It is, in fact, every citizen’s constitutional right to participate in regular elections to make their voice heard and to vote out failing and corrupt governments.

Our participatory democracy rests on the IEC’s mandate to conduct free, fair, and regular elections.

The IEC has shown, through the series of by-elections over the past seven months that it can hold completely free and fair elections, in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic.

By-elections since November last year have seen good, and in some cases, above-average turnout which shows that voters are keen to come out, safely, and cast their ballots despite the pandemic.

During these by-elections campaigning has been free and fair, political operations have adapted as required, and voters have been reached by their parties on the ground through digital media and an array of other communication platforms.

The IEC has, to their credit, run very successful Covid-19-compliant by-elections in all instances. Queues have been social distanced, masks have been mandatory, and equipment has been sanitised, which bodes well for the 27 October local government election in every ward across South Africa.

The IEC has already proven that elections can be held during a pandemic. There is no reason why it cannot proceed with this year’s Local Government Elections as planned.

Being ready for the election later this year means that the DA is well underway with our planning and preparation for the campaign, and we will be first party out of the blocks this weekend as we hold our Time for Change Rally – the first national DA rally in the lead-up to our campaign.

We are excited and very proud to hold our Time for Change Rally on Saturday, connecting thousands of DA members and supporters in over 400 watch parties in locations across the country.

Our rally this Saturday is a bold statement of intent: The DA is ready for Election 2021, and our preparation toward 27 October is proceeding at full steam.

The unnecessary review of the election date, announced by the IEC today, is not about empowering voters, it is about an unprepared, weak, and divided ANC which has no momentum to campaign, and an increasingly irrelevant EFF which has failed to adapt campaign operations during the pandemic.

The IEC should not bow to the whims of these party-political issues. The Constitutional right of each and every South African to cast their vote should not be determined by any party’s preparedness in any election season.

This election is about South Africans and the future of our country, not the ANC.

South Africa needs this year’s local government election to proceed, to give effect to voters’ rights to choose their governments, and to ensure accountability at local government level. South African voters desperately want change. The IEC must give them the right to it.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.

John Steenhuizen

Leader of the Democratic Alliance

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