The United Democratic Movement (UDM) is concerned about the allegations that are being made against the Constitutional Court and Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) by other political parties as this does not augur well for our democracy. The Democratic Alliance (DA) in particular has been very vocal lately in claiming that the Concourt and IEC are captured by the ruling party because of the re-opening of voter registration and submission of candidate lists for 2021 Local Government Elections.
In the meetings of the National Party Liaison Committee, almost all the represented political parties were not happy about the timetable drafted by the IEC after the Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) proclaimed the initial date of 27 October for 2021 Local Government Elections (LGE).
The DA is quick to commend these institutions for work well done if they take decisions that are in its favour, but when it comes to those that do not favour it, it is quick to lament and resort to accusations that are unfounded or baseless.
The UDM has been very consistent in asking for the postponement of these elections because of the obtaining abnormal conditions due to the Coronavirus pandemic and restrictive health protocols. It is unfair to compare what happened to the National Freedom Party when it failed to pay the IEC deposit for contesting the 2016 LGE as this was a pure blunder on the part of its administration.
This time around, the ConCourt issued an order that the voter’s roll may be opened for people who want to register or to change their personal details. It must be noted that these people have a constitutional right to cast votes for their preferred candidates and have also a right to stand for public office or to be voted for. We have to learn as a nation to compare apples with apples.
The UDM believes the IEC’s decision was necessitated by special circumstances that everyone is aware of hence it welcomes and supports the re-opening of the voters roll and re-submission of the nomination lists. The UDM does not criticise or oppose for the sake of opposing but it favours constructive criticism.
UDM will continue to be friends of IEC during this time (DA court case) to ensure that the upcoming LGE are indeed free and fair.
Mr Bongani Msomi
UDM Secretary General