Upcoming local elections will test SA’s democratic foundations

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Upcoming local elections will test SA’s democratic foundations

In the run-up to the November polls, the IEC and Constitutional Court’s resolve will be severely tested

Columnist

SA’s institutions of democracy were never going to be tested while the country had ethical leaders and election results were a foregone conclusion. It is now, at a time of great societal stress, when we are living through a lingering and devastating pandemic, and our divisions are sharpened, when elections are highly contested, that these institutions will have to show their mettle.

The Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) has had a great run. So has the Constitutional Court. Both institutions require thoughtful, considered criticism and remedial action if they are going off the rails. They belong to all of us and should not be used as a political football. No one wins when the IEC or the ConCourt are impugned with no facts to back up the allegations made against them.

Yet this does not mean we have to treat these institutions with kid gloves. They must be scrutinised all the time. If the IEC is lost or captured, we have no democracy. If the ConCourt goes, then we are in the wilderness. It’s dog eat dog...

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