The Democratic Alliance (DA) has announced that it will explore all available legal avenues to oppose the Electoral Commission of South Africa’s (IEC’s) decision to reopen its candidate registration process for the local government elections.
This is after IEC chairperson Glen Mashinini made the announcement at a media briefing in Centurion, Pretoria on Monday afternoon.
The candidate registration process, which notably affected the ANC, will reopen on 20 September. This will allow the party to register candidates for the upcoming elections, after it had missed the initial registration period.
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In a statement, DA federal council chair Helen Zille slammed the IEC’s decision, saying it gave the ANC “an advantage that other parties have never enjoyed”.
The ANC failed to register candidates in more than 90 municipalities.
“It is a transparent strategy to benefit the ANC, and would go some way to explaining why the ANC withdrew its appeal to the Electoral Court to have the candidate registration deadline lifted. Why would they have done that if they did not have a fallback position. Now their ‘Plan B’ has been revealed,” Zille said.
On Friday, the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) dismissed the IEC’s application to postpone this year’s municipal elections to February 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Zille said the ConCourt judgment underscored the importance of a voter registration period, not the reopening of the registration of party candidates.
“The two are clearly distinct from each other. There had been no prior weekend dedicated to voter registration, because this was cancelled in July due to the Covid spike.
“However, there was a clear deadline for candidate registration, which the ANC missed. It cannot now demand a second bite at the cherry,” she said.
”This has never been granted before when other parties have requested leeway on an IEC deadline, resulting in the National Freedom Party’s (NFP’s) total exclusion from the 2016 local election, and the Inkatha Freedom Party’s (IFP’s) partial exclusion from certain wards in the 2011 election.”
The minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, is expected to announce a new date for the elections between 27 October and 1 November.
The voter registration weekend will be from 18 to 19 September.
The applications for special votes will open 20 September and close on 4 October.