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By Mike Cohen and Paul Vecchiatto
(Bloomberg) – South Africa’s government said it will declare Oct. 27 as municipal-election day, a formality that will enable the authorities to file a court application to delay the vote.
Under the constitution, the election must be held within five years and 90 days of the last local government vote in August 2016. However, a panel headed by former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke found the contest was unlikely to be free and fair if that deadline was adhered to because of the coronavirus.
The Independent Electoral Commission accepted Moseneke’s recommendation that the plebiscite be delayed and intends to ask either the Electoral Court or the Constitutional Court for approval, but the voting date needed to be proclaimed before the application is filed.
The government will support a court-ordered postponement, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma told reporters in an online briefing on Tuesday.
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