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Coronavirus

Despite COVID-19, South Africa to Hold Key Local Polls

September 15, 2021

JOHANNESBURG — After uncertainty about whether the coronavirus pandemic would force South Africa to postpone local government elections, the courts have ruled the vote should move ahead.

South Africa’s courts ruled this month the Independent Electoral Commission should hold the polls on Nov. 1, despite concerns about political rallies spreading the disease.

South Africa has recorded 2,640 new infections and 125 deaths in the last 24 hours. The nation accounts for more than 35% of coronavirus infections in Africa, with 2.8 million confirmed cases and 85,002 confirmed deaths.

The elections may see an erosion of support for the ruling party, the African National Congress, which failed to register candidates in about 90 municipalities across the country before the deadline. However, the electoral commission threw the ANC a lifeline by reopening registration for candidates to be councilors in cities across the nation.

More than 7 million people, or 12.5% of the South African population, have been fully vaccinated with either the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine or the two-dose Pfizer vaccine, according to Johns Hopkins University. Vaccines are offered to all adults 18 years and older as officials seek to vaccinate at least 40 million of the 60 million population by the end of the year.

However, South Africa is yet to reach its target of 300,000 daily vaccinations.

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