Candidate registrations can proceed, after Constitutional Court ruling

ConCourt dismisses DA’s application to prevent IEC reopening registration

20 September 2021 - 12:16
In a unanimous judgment decided without an oral hearing on Monday, the ConCourt said the IEC's decision to reopen candidate registrations was in line with the law. File photo.
In a unanimous judgment decided without an oral hearing on Monday, the ConCourt said the IEC's decision to reopen candidate registrations was in line with the law. File photo.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

The Constitutional Court has dismissed the DA’s application to declare the reopening of the candidate registration process by the Electoral Commission (IEC) as unconstitutional, unlawful and invalid. 

This means political parties - and independents - have until 5pm on Tuesday to register candidates.

In a unanimous judgment decided without an oral hearing on Monday, the court said the decision was in line with the law and its refusal not to postpone the elections to next year did not imply the candidate cut-off may not be extended.    

The apex court had previously ordered that the commission determine if it was possible to hold a voter registration weekend before the polls, which it said must take place between October 27 and November 1.

The IEC determined a voter registration weekend could take place and, as part of this process, reopened the candidate application process.

The DA, supported by the IFP and EFF, raised its objections and lodged an urgent application to set aside the IEC’s decision. 

In its papers, the DA said the decision was unconstitutional and unlawful because the reopening decision gave the ANC a desperately needed lifeline after it failed to nominate candidates in more than 100 municipalities countrywide before the cut-off date.

The opposition party’s Werner Horn said in an affidavit that the ConCourt’s decision allowed for the reopening of the voter’s roll due to the voter registration drive and not the candidate registration process.

“It is not a licence to make amendments that are unconnected to reopening the roll and which the commission already decided not to make. Yet that is what the commission has done,” he said.

The court, however, rejected this.  

The DA also said the reopening of the process would unduly benefit the ANC.

Responding to this assertion, the judges said: “The court held that it was not possible on the papers and in conformity with the Plascon-Evans rule to reject the commission’s denial of those imputations.  

“In respect of the DA’s contention that the court’s refusal to grant the EFF relief in the main application was a judicial determination, the court rejected this contention. The court held its refusal did not imply the candidate cut-off may not be extended.”

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