All-nighter for IEC as parties push to meet 9pm registration deadline
The IEC says it will work through the night to capture and finalise the registration of political parties and independent candidates vying to compete in the upcoming local government elections.
The initial deadline of 5pm was moved to 9pm on Monday.
More than 100 political parties and more than 400 independents had either captured their nominations or submitted nominations by 5.05pm, according to the commission's spokesperson, Kate Bapela.
Failure to submit their candidate nomination registrations and prescribed election deposits at the revised time would result in automatic disqualification.
Earlier this month, the government gazetted October 27 as local government election day. But this was subject to the Constitutional Court’s decision, as the IEC sought a postponement beyond the promulgated date. This was after a panel led by former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke recommended that the polls were unlikely to be free and fair if held in October — due to Covid-19 factors.
The DA, the Makana Independent New Deal, the African Transformation Movement, the Forum 4 Service Delivery and the One SA Movement have opposed the commission's application on the basis that the Constitutional Court has no power to postpone the elections because it would amount to a constitutional amendment, and only parliament has the power to amend the constitution.
Despite the ongoing court bid, major political parties have confirmed they successfully submitted their lists despite difficult conditions.
“The ANC candidate selection processes took place in unusual and difficult conditions. Over the past five months successive waves of the Covid-19 pandemic have necessitated restrictions on gatherings and movement. We commend the steadfast dedication and commitment of ANC and community members to participate in this important process under these trying conditions,” said spokesperson Pule Mabe.
The DA also submitted their lists and unveiled their mayoral candidates for major metros. The chosen candidates were set to “get things done in communities”, according to party leader John Steenhuisen.
The EFF’s Vuyani Pambo told TimesLIVE shortly before 6pm that “the process is ongoing, we are yet to finalise everything”.
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Meanwhile, the IFP said it was keeping with the IEC’s timetable for elections.
“Notwithstanding our call for the elections to be postponed, the IFP is making the necessary preparations to adhere to existing IEC deadlines. This includes the submission of a party list before 9pm on Monday. Our candidates are ready to stand up, speak up, and serve the people of their constituencies,” said president Velenkosini Hlabisa.
FF Plus president Pieter Groenewald said the party had submitted their lists and paid deposits to the relevant municipalities.
Commenting on the number of political parties and independent candidates registered, Groenewald said there had been interest to vote.
“This is an indication that there is participation and willingness to vote on October 27, it is also further proof that indeed elections must go ahead,” he said.
Action SA’s national chairperson, Michael Beaumont, said the IEC’s decision to extend the deadline was a clear indication that “there is chaos taking place within some political parties”.
“ActionSA's candidate nominations are in order after having completed our candidate election process at the end of June. Our focus remains on communicating our offer to the residents of the municipalities we are contesting and we remain ready for whichever election date emerges from the Constitutional Court,” he said.
Al Jama-ah’s Ganief Hendricks said: “We worked around the clock, I didn’t sleep last night trying get everything sorted. It has been a real headache. The IEC has published the timetable; they must stick to their word and do their job. You can’t issue a timetable and go tell the court otherwise, it’s hypocritical.”
Meanwhile, African Transformation Movement leader Hlaudi Motsoeneng said his party had not submitted its lists, as it was unrealistic to do so.
Motsoeneng said he was unfazed by the IEC’s contention that unregistered parties would, by 9pm, automatically face disqualification if requirements were not met.
“We believe the ConCourt will rule in favour of IEC, and we did not want to impose candidates on community at such short notice,” he said.
Asked what the party would do if the court ruled otherwise, Motsoeneng said they would launch a court bid to challenge such an outcome.
Motsoeneng’s previous bid in national election was a total failure, but he defended that performance, saying: “People judge me on the previous national election; it was just a PR exercise. I have no doubt I have huge support in my hometown where I will be competing for now.”
The PAC’s Philip Dlamini said the party’s attempt to register for the polls had been rejected on the basis of a conflict within the party leadership. This was an outcome it was in the process of appealing.
The commission has given itself a deadline of Friday to notify political parties and independent candidates of any non-compliance in respect of outstanding documents.
“Thereafter, the Electoral Commission will have until August 31 to notify parties of any candidates appearing on multiple party lists. The affected parties will have until 5pm on September 2 to decide whether to remove such candidate and order their lists,” said Bapela.