South Africa News

EFF warns IEC against misinterpreting Constitutional Court order as excuse to save ANC

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has warned the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) against misrepresenting a Constitutional Court (ConCourt) order handed out on Friday.

The ConCourt dismissed the IEC’s application to postpone the local government elections, and said they should be held no later than 1 November 2021.

It also directed the commission to, within three days, determine whether it is practically possible to hold a voter registration weekend with a view to registering new voters and changing registered voters’ particulars on the national voters’ roll in time for local government elections to be held any day in the period from 27 October to 1 November 2021.

“If the Commission determines that it is not practically possible to hold a voter registration weekend, the Minister must, not earlier than 10 September 2021, issue a proclamation in terms of section 24(2) of the Structures Act, determining a date for the local government elections in the period from 27 October to 1 November 2021,” it said.

But the EFF says the IEC must not misinterpret the order and reopen the candidate submission process.

The ANC’s shambolic submission outcomes made major headlines, and it stands to lose power in several councils without a vote being cast due to its failure to even register for numerous wards and even proportional representation lists. The EFF has warned that the IEC should not “operate on the whims and needs” of the ANC.

“We wish to warn the IEC not to misinterpret this court judgement and the instruction to open voter registration as an opportunity to reopen the process of candidate submission forward and proportional representation submission. All political parties were afforded the same amount of time to submit their candidates by the 23rd of August 2021, in the same platform and under the same deadline,” said the EFF in a statement.

“Any attempt to reopen that process would confirm that the IEC operates on the whims and needs of the ruling party and lacks independence and partiality. To reopen the candidate submission process would be unfair on political parties who have their houses in order and have met the necessary deadline, notwithstanding that there is precedence in refusing to allow political parties that have missed the deadline from submitting.”

Though the party had long been calling for the postponement of elections, it said it would participate in a vigorous campaign to win the elections and deliver services to the people.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) said the order was “a milestone victory for both our democracy and our Constitution”.

“The people of South Africa have a constitutional right to elect their local governments within the mandated time period, and we are satisfied that the Constitutional Court stood firm and upheld this right. In doing so, the highest court in the country has given the people of South Africa faith by demonstrating that it remains the backstop of our democracy,” it said in a statement.

It further called on IEC chairperson Glen Mashinini to reconsider his future in the organisation following the failed bid to postpone elections.

“Now that this attempt to subvert the Constitution and deny voters their rights has been defeated, our country can put this whole episode behind it and look ahead to a registration weekend, followed by a free and fair election. All parties that played by the rules and did their homework in preparing for the proclaimed election date should welcome this decision.”

The IEC said it would meet over the weekend to discuss a way forward and make an announcement on Monday.

“The implications of the Constitutional Court judgment means that the Commission is now required to ensure that it prepares for an election to be held by 1 November 2021,” it said.

-The Citizen

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