The Constitutional Court has no jurisdiction to permit the Electoral Commission (IEC) to defer the elections to next year, said the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac). Granting the IEC permission to hold municipal elections beyond the constitutionally required 90-day expiry date of the five-year term for municipal councils would amount to amending the Constitution, which exceeds the powers of the Constitutional Court, Casac said, according to Business Day. Only Parliament, with a two-thirds majority of members, may vote for amending the Constitution.
The IEC approached the court this month to defer the municipal polls beyond the scheduled 27 October to a date no later than February 2022, citing an inconducive environment caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The IEC says its application is based on the constitutional impossibility of conducting elections beyond 1 November, the 90-day expiry date for municipal councils. The Constitution only permits municipal councils to sit for a five-year term, after which elections should be held. The IEC’s decision follows the release of the Moseneke report, which recommended that the elections be deferred to next year when the health risks associated with Covid-19 are likely to have subsided due to increased vaccinations. The case is set down for 20 August.