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South Africa postpones by-elections due to COVID-19

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On Thursday, 19 March 2020 South Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said it had shelved all by-elections scheduled for this week in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The country has outstanding by-elections in eight provinces, including those in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, and the Northern Cape Provinces, the IEC said.

“People may not turn up at the voting stations due to the disease. So in these circumstances, a free and fair election would significantly be affected,” IEC chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo said.

With the approaching local government elections, the IEC said it was looking into introducing other measures in preparation for 2021.

“Local government elections next year have to happen, but in circumstances of relative health.

“In circumstance where there is no possibility of significant of cross-infection of people. We are monitoring the situation, just in case it gets worse,” Mamabolo continued.

The election chief, however, said the IEC was ready to move the 2021 municipal polls to a later date should the pandemic continue to spread uncontrollably.

South Africa has one-hundred and sixteen confirmed cases of the coronavirus but no deaths.

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