A delay of the 2021 local government elections to 2024, as called for on Thursday by the EFF, would create a constitutional crisis, says Herman Mashaba, president of ActionSA.

The proposal by the EFF’s Julius Malema, he said, “is grossly irresponsible and hypocritical for a man who once labelled Jacob Zuma a constitutional delinquent”.

Mashaba, whose new party hopes to contest the elections, said: “The constitution of our Republic of South Africa limits a term of office to five years. This provision is the most important safeguard to South Africa’s electoral democracy.

“Delaying the 2021 elections would generate a constitutional crisis of municipal governments operating without the mandates they require from South Africans.”

The EFF’s proposal also failed to take into account a reversal in the current second wave of Covid-19 infections in SA.

“Malema and the EFF have no ability to assess what infection levels of Covid-19 will be in seven to nine months, when the 2021 local government elections are expected to take place, and what threat an election may or may not present to the health and safety of South Africans,” said the former Johannesburg mayor.

In July, ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule said the party’s national executive committee had thrown its weight behind a proposal for electoral reform which would see a single election as opposed to two separate events. He said the party would hold talks with other parties who shared the same view, given that such a change would require an amendment to the constitution.

Currently, SA runs two elections in a five-year cycle: national and provincial, and local government.

Questioning the parties’ motives, Mashaba said his party would challenge a move in this direction.

“It is a dangerous development that the EFF, once the staunchest opponents of the ANC, are now aligning with the Magashule faction of the ANC. Their shared proposal to delay the 2021 local government elections demonstrates that this alignment will be a threat to the South African constitution.

“I remind the South African government, the ANC and now the EFF, that any move to breach our constitution and delay this year’s elections, will be challenged in court by ActionSA.”