‘Move all KZN by-elections to 19 June’ 

By Sihle Mavuso

Bongi Sithole-Moloi, the KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, has given reasons why she wants all upcoming by-elections in the province to be postponed and only held after the May 29 elections. 

She has filed papers with the Pietermaritzburg High Court to ask it to rubber stamp her decision to have all seven by-elections on 19 June. The urgent application will be heard on Thursday morning. 

Among the pending by-elections is the one for Umzumbe where the ANC is facing the possibility of losing the ward to Umkhonto Wesizwe (MK) after their former ward councillor and speaker defected to the ANC splinter party. 

Sithole-Moloi also wants the by-elections in Newcastle, Uphongolo and Mthonjaneni (Melmoth), among others, to be postponed. In these three by-elections, ANC councillors resigned, paving the way for the resurgent IFP to tighten its grip on these municipalities. 

In her affidavit, Sithole-Moloi said all political parties have shifted their attention to the upcoming provincial and national elections. 

“I expressed my growing concerns that, with the national and provincial election soon approaching, political parties do not have enough time to channel all efforts to municipal by-elections as the current campaigns are focused on the provincial and national election due to the complexity and the magnitude of the exercise,” she said. 

Furthermore, she said her concern was about smaller political parties with limited resources. 

“I expressed the view that this [not delaying the by-elections] may compromise political parties, particularly smaller parties, who may not have enough resources to split their mobilisation efforts to cover the national and provincial elections as well as municipal by-elections over the same period.” 

She accordingly proposed that the by-elections be postponed to a date after the national and provincial election to ensure a free and fair election, and “to ensure that by-elections are not compromised or overshadowed by the national and provincial elections”. 

In her court papers, Sithole-Moloi admitted the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) told her that the Municipal Structures Act “does not contain any provision allowing for a deferral beyond the 90-day period on account of the Commission’s belief that elections held after the 90-day period will not be free and fair”. 

“The Commission also explained that my reliance on section 8 [of the Act] was misplaced,” she conceded in the papers. 

Pictured above: MEC Bongi Sithole-Moloi says some parties don’t have enough resources to simultaneously contest by-elections and the upcoming general elections.

Source: Facebook


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