A woman casts her ballot at a polling station in Soweto. Millions of South Africans voted in the nation's first free and democratic general election, marking the end of centuries of apartheid rule. Nelson Mandela of the African National Congress (ANC) was elected as the first black President of South Africa. (Photo by Brooks Kraft LLC/Sygma via Getty Images)

South Africa is a democratic country that holds local government elections every five years. The last local government elections were held on the 3rd of August 2016, five years ago, and South Africa will be holding its sixth local government elections shortly.

According to an article written by Cenk Hazar for Daily Sabah, socio-economic issues in South Africa may hold the voters back from participating in the upcoming elections. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the ex-wife of former president Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma and Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister, announced that the local government elections would take place on the 1st of November 2021. This was said in a virtual briefing after South Africa’s highest court, the Constitutional Court of South Africa, dismissed the Electoral Commission of South Africa’s application to postpone the local government elections to next year.

In August 2021, the Electoral Commission of South Arica (IEC) applied to have the local government elections postponed to February next year because they believed that it would be safer to do so since the vaccination rates were low this year. The investigation held by the Electrical Commission of South Africa found that numerous political parties had not been given enough time to campaign before the local elections as they were banned by lockdown restrictions. The president’s ban of gatherings also prevented them from canvassing and contacting their group of voters, which would diminish the fairness of the polls but, in its ruling, the Constitutional Court of South Africa overruled the government’s decision to hold elections on the 27th of October, saying instead that elections should take place between the 27th of October and the 1st of November 2021.  The Official Gazette was drawn up in accordance with Article 159 of the Constitution of South Africa, read in conjunction with the Municipal Structure Law, which stipulates those elections must be held within 90 days at the end of a five-year term of local government.

Covid-19 has made it challenging for political parties to canvass votes and to engage in some campaign activity, but President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement to move the country to Adjusted Alert Level 2 starting from the 13th of September 2021 was welcomed with warm hands by political parties as it would allow them to perform campaign activities and canvass for votes. All South Africans who will conduct election campaigns and canvass for votes are urged to do so responsibly and abide by Covid-19 regulations and protocols.