Municipal elections, which are due to be held later this year, are very unlikely to be postponed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This was according to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) which told Parliament that any postponement of the elections would require a constitutional amendment.

The IEC was appearing before the parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

IEC officials gave a number of reasons why a postponement of the municipal elections was inadvisable.

News24 reported that deputy IEC CEO, Janet Love, said that a unilateral extension of the terms of municipal councillors could see them lose legitimacy in the eyes of residents. The organisation’s deputy CEO for election operations, Masego Sheburi, also pointed out that the Constitution said that elections had to be held within 90 days of the expiry of an elected body’s term, which is five years. This means that municipal elections have to be held by early November this year. There is no constitutional mechanism for elections to be postponed, and any deviation would require a constitutional amendment.

A number of countries have held elections during the pandemic, such as South Korea, Israel, and the United States, said Sheburi.