Civil society and the news media must lead the drive to urge South Africans to register for the upcoming municipal elections, says the Institute of Race Relations (IRR). 

This must also be the focus of the work of the Electoral Commission (IEC), the IRR said in a statement. It also urged the IEC to reject pleas to extend the date for parties to submit candidate lists. 

The IRR said: ‘As a secondary matter, the Constitutional Court dismissed the EFF’s ‘conditional application for relief’, in which the party sought a ruling to lift the ban on gatherings above 100 persons and to ‘extend the date of the party nomination lists’. The Constitutional Court said no to both. The IEC cannot now say yes to the ANC’s request that the candidate lists be reopened.’

IRR head of campaigns, Gabriel Crouse, said: ‘The Electoral Commission said it was short on time – that was the whole thrust of its argument – so it cannot waste more time hearing the ANC whine about its own blunder. It is painful to think of all those ANC staff that have not been paid, but the Electoral Commission has a job to do and a duty to uphold. The priority must be to get people to register to vote; that is the South African thing to do, and we call on all South Africans to amplify the message: register now!’