South Africans see postponing elections, using security forces to enforce lockdown as justified during COVID-19 pandemic

Governance

With broad agreement across party lines, two-thirds of South Africans say that postponing elections or limiting campaigning is justified during a health emergency like the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new Afrobarometer survey.

Majorities also endorse media censorship and the use of police and security forces to enforce public health mandates as justified steps during a pandemic.

The survey also found widespread support for the national lockdown as a necessary measure to limit the spread of COVID-19, although most citizens found it difficult to comply with the regulations.

Public opinion regarding postponing elections seems to endorse the Electoral Commission’s decision to delay local government elections from October to February 2022. The move, recommended by former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, must still be approved by the Electoral Court.