Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Pretoria: The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, has welcomed the judgement handed down by the Constitutional Court in which she was cited as one of the respondents.

The Constitutional Court on Monday dismissed the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) application to declare the Electoral Commission of South Africa’s (IEC) decision to reopen candidate nominations for the Local Government Elections as invalid and unlawful and set aside.

“The Constitutional Court had previously dismissed an application by the IEC which sought an order to postpone the forthcoming municipal elections to February 2022,” the CoGTA department explained.

“In terms of paragraph 5(a) of that order, the IEC was ordered to determine within three days thereof, whether it was practically possible to hold a voter registration weekend to register new voters and change registered voters’ particulars on the national voters’ roll in time for the local government elections.”

The IEC subsequently determined it would be possible to hold a voter registration this past weekend.

“However, in addition to this, the Commission also advised that it would be amending the election timetable to include the re-opening of the candidate nomination process as this was necessary as a consequence of holding a voter registration weekend.”

According to the department, the Minister, as one of the respondents in this application, filed an affidavit.

“[The Minister] addressed the DA’s incorrect interpretation of the Constitutional Court order dated 3 September 2021, the correct source of the IEC’s powers, the DA’s application countenance a breach of the separation of powers and lastly the ambit of the order.”

In a unanimous judgement decided without an oral hearing by the Court, CoGTA said the highest court in the land stated that the proper approach to interpretation involves a unitary exercise in which a court seeks to ascertain the meaning of a provision in light of the document as a whole and context of admissible background evidence.

“The Court held that the proper interpretation to paragraph 5(a) of the order envisaged an amendment to the timetable in respect of registering voters,” the department added.

The department has since called on all eligible South Africans to exercise their democratic right and responsibility to vote during the 2021 Local Government Elections and to strengthen the country’s democracy.