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ANC to go to court to force IEC to reopen candidate registration process

Party had 'difficulties' registering candidates on IEC website, which suffered technical problems in final hours before Monday's deadline: Jessie Duarte

26 August 2021 - 18:01 By kgothatso madisa
The ANC says it and other parties were not able to complete their candidate registration processes. File photo.
The ANC says it and other parties were not able to complete their candidate registration processes. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images

The ANC will approach the electoral court to force the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) to reopen the local government election candidate list process.

This after the governing party said it had difficulties registering its candidates on the IEC website, which it said suffered technical problems in the final hours before the deadline on Monday.

According to the party’s deputy secretary-general, Jessie Duarte, another factor the ANC will put forward in their court application is that the party was heavily affected by the level 4 Covid-19 lockdown, which banned all political gatherings, meaning branches and communities did not have enough time to hold meetings.

“The process of registering our candidates to the IEC experienced major challenges on Monday ... We’re assessing the effect of these challenges and [the] way forward. We will be approaching the electoral court to reopen the process for at least one day for corrections and additions to be made,” Duarte said.

“The challenges we faced were caused by a combination of factors, many out of our control. First of all, the Covid-19 level 4 [restrictions] banned all meetings for most of July and this meant that more than 15,000 branch and community meetings had to be held from late July until August 20 to nominate and hold meetings with ward candidates.”

She said in some communities there were still nominations meetings being held on the day the IEC was scheduled to close the registration process. This, according to Duarte, affected their timeline.

“As a result, our deadlines were hard to meet. We faced numerous challenges. Many candidates' IDs were rejected due to the absence of voter registration during the period. So they were not registered properly in the wards where they were selected as a candidate and therefore the IEC system did not have them as a registered voter. That was one of the reasons some were rejected.

“Second, as we were entering, the IEC system repeatedly froze and locked out our administrators during the final few hours before the deadline data already entered into the system was voided and had to be re-entered,” Duarte said.

The ultimate effect of this, Duarte said on Thursday, was that voters in around 30 municipalities will not be able to vote for an ANC candidate — unless the system was reopened to allow them to make the necessary corrections.

She said she was appealing to the court to consider the fact that there were similar challenges faced by all parties.

“I believe we were not the only party with difficulties. Our understanding is that there were a number of other political parties who faced the same problem towards the last hours,” she said.

This included that the system was “freezing out where we had entered the data”.

“It froze and it was not accepted on the other side, even though on our screen it said 'admitted'. So there is a difficulty and we would like it to be recognised and corrected.”