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As the Economic Freedom Fighters party prepares to take the Independent Electoral Commission to court on Tuesday, other small parties have also complained about the high fees that are required to run for the elections.
Last week, EFF announced that it had launched an urgent application to stop the IEC, Minister of Home Affairs Naledi Pandor and President Jacob Zuma from imposing the deposit fee required when political parties submit their election list.
Parties need to pay the IEC R45 000 to R200 000 for the national elections.
In a statement last week, EFF spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said: “EFF strongly rejects the imposition of such a high deposit and views it as simply unfair to new entrants. It also serves as a barrier to entry and most importantly it violates the political rights guaranteed in Section 19 of the constitution. Its ultimate effect is to exclude poor people from exercising the right to stand for office.
“This system also unfairly discriminates against new parties and existing parties which receive millions of taxpayers’ money from Parliament annually. EFF rejects the notion that there should be any conditions placed on new entrants that are committed to building the nations’ democracy.”
The EFF is not the only party that is complaining about the cost.
The Abolition of Income Tax and Usury Party leader, Stephen Goodson, said the high cost had forced his party to merge with the People’s African Party to contest the elections.
“Small parties do not stand a chance. In 1994 the cost to run for elections was R40 000 and now it is R200 000. Elections are a rich man’s club that excludes smaller parties.
“Even if you get the R200 000 needed by the IEC, you still need more money to campaign and print posters. You will not be able to afford to campaign, even if you have a good message,” said Goodson.
He said he would be watching the case at the Pretoria High Court closely. “It might be too late now because the elections are in May, but maybe for the next round…”
The Republican Democrats have also complained.
“We are of the firm belief that the elections are in no way going to be free and fair to any of the other political parties but the ANC and perhaps the DA, unless our concerns are addressed. For newer parties like the RD, money is still a big issue until at least a time when we would be having a world icon leave us an inheritance.”
Parties have until March 12 to submit their lists and pay deposits to the IEC. - Pretoria News