Remember Covid-19 when voting – IRR

29 October 2021 - It behoves all voters to remember the risks – personal and political – associated with Covid-19. Reasons for social distancing, masking, and sanitizing are well known – but the broader context is not.

It behoves all voters to remember the risks – personal and political – associated with Covid-19. Reasons for social distancing, masking, and sanitizing are well known – but the broader context is not. 

The public deserves to be reminded that the Electoral Commission’s report on why elections “cannot possibly be conducted” this year included the claim that elections are “massive ‘super spreader’ events”, which it made without finding a single peer-reviewed scientific article to support this presumption. 

Failure to broadcast the absence of evidence for the Electoral Commission’s assumption that South Africans do not know how to vote safely may stoke voter apathy. Likewise, reminders that when people act reasonably – as in other countries – elections can be safely conducted, should help protect the health of both individuals and South African democracy by highlighting the roadmap to success. 

As predicted by scientists who consulted the Electoral Commission – and exactly opposite to the Electoral Commission’s conclusions – South Africa will enter the election cycle at a low-point in Covid-19 national distress. 

In fact, South Africans will vote after two weeks of the lowest case and death numbers since before the peak of the first wave. Again, failure to broadcast this may drive down voter turnout. 

South Africa’s first major elections after the pandemic are almost unique, by international comparison, in the absence from mainstream political debate of meaningful attention being given to the government’s response to the pandemic. The silence on South Africa’s inept Covid-19 response is all the more dramatic in light of the fact that Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, an ANC leader and cabinet minister, sought irrationally to block these elections from happening by disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of South Africans, a move reversed only by appeal to the Constitutional Court. 

Said IRR head of campaigns Gabriel Crouse: “There are two basic reasons to remember Covid-19 on election day. One is to know that ‘yes we can’ protect ourselves from the virus if we act seriously. The second is that to protect ourselves from those who call record Covid-19 lows a ‘State of Disaster’ without scientific evidence, and who tried to take away your right to vote in regular elections, requires voting wisely. How did your local representative respond to the attempt to cancel this year’s elections?” 

Information supporting the IRR petition to disband the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), end the State of Disaster, and amend the Disaster Management Act (DMA) can be found here [https://irr.org.za/campaigns/disband-command-council].  

Media contact: Gabriel Crouse, IRR Head of Campaigns – 082 510 0360; gabriel@irr.org.za
 
Media enquiries: Michael Morris Tel: 066 302 1968 Email: michael@irr.org.za

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