Fringe parties lost at the ballot box and the bank

12 May 2019 - 00:00 By ZINGISA MVUMVU

A record number of political parties contested the elections, but in the end it was the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) that smiled all the way to the bank.
Of 48 parties that appeared on the national ballot, only 13 will likely see a return on their investment of R200,000, which the IEC requires to register for elections nationally.
The remaining 35 parties will collectively forfeit about R7m to the IEC. Parties that also registered to contest in provinces would have lost even more money, given the additional R45,000 deposit required to put their names on provincial ballot papers.
The R200,000 deposit is not refundable.
Parties such as Andile Mngxitama's Black First Land First, the African Content Movement led by Hlaudi Motsoeneng and the Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party of Irvin Jim are also losing out on the generous perks that come with gaining a seat in parliament.
These include an annual salary of R1.3m, a state-sponsored house in Cape Town, state-sponsored air tickets, subsidised three-course lunches, a cellphone and a tablet.
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The IEC also gives represented political parties an annual allowance, which is calculated based on the number of public representatives they have.Having missed the gravy train, the failed new contestants are hauling the IEC to the electoral court, alleging voting fraud.They claim the elections were not free and fair, citing instances where some people allegedly voted more than once and a shortage of voting material at some polling stations. They argue that this has cast doubt on the credibility of the elections.They also allege some voting stations did not have scanners that can detect double voting. This, they argue, means the IEC was in no position to determine whether all the people who presented themselves at voting stations were, in fact, registered voters."People were given different configurations of ballot papers - sometimes two national and two provincial. In the North West there were reports that others were even given three," reads a legal letter to the IEC signed by all the aggrieved parties.The IEC yesterday rejected the idea of conducting an audit of the results.

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