Afrika Unite Congress wants more time to submit candidate lists

Afrika Unite Congress Party president, Lizwi Ncwane. Picture: Twitter

Afrika Unite Congress Party president, Lizwi Ncwane. Picture: Twitter

Published Mar 12, 2024


Political party Afrika Unite Congress (AUK), formed by members of the Shembe Church in KwaZulu-Natal last year, has written to the Electoral Commission of South Africa requesting more time to submit its provincial and national candidate lists.

The commission gave all political parties until 5pm on Friday to submit their lists, but the AUK said the Electoral Amendment Act, which requires the party to provide 61 000 signatures in support of the party, and persistent load shedding, made it almost impossible to meet the deadline.

AUK was formed by members of the eBuhleni faction of the church, one of the largest churches in the country with hundreds of thousands of followers.

The party’s president Lizwe Ncwane wrote to the commission minutes after the deadline had passed, saying the Electoral Amendment Act “affected all the unrepresented political parties”.

He said the act failed to protect the interests of the voice of the people and to allow a proper legal assessment of how the imposition of the support signature requirements would affect participation in the elections.

“Further, the parties and citizens of the country are facing persistent load shedding which makes it impossible to meet the deadline,” Ncwane wrote.

He called on the commission to grant the party an extension to submit its candidate lists.

In a reply by the IEC, seen by “The Mercury” the electoral body confirmed receiving Ncwane’s complaint.

Ncwane on Monday said if they are unsuccessful with their complaint, they will recollect as leadership and as a constituency and focus on structures on the ground.

He said the party had already been approached by “some of the major” parties in the country, who he did not name.

“We need to be part of the vote and before we align with anyone we need to consult our constituency, which includes traditional leaders and healers and spiritual healers.”

Ncwane said they would only align with a party that shares the church’s policy and principles, which includes a “native pan-African approach”.

“We may differ ideologically on policy issues but that does not prevent us from having discussions,” Ncwane said.

Political parties believe churches have started to again play a critical role, ahead of the elections.

IFP MPL, the Reverend Musa Zondi, said churches are trying to find their feet as the country faces many challenges.

“There was a time before 1994 where there was a common enemy, apartheid, but after the first democratic elections the intensity of church involvement in politics was not the same.

“We find churches now are trying to regroup and find a sense of purpose in the new South Africa.”

ANC politician Pastor Vusi Dube said the church should never have taken a back seat as politicians need to be held accountable.

“Church members vote and their welfare is in the hands of politicians.

“Both the ANC and the party that has emerged from it, the MKP, will need guidance from senior people in the church on peaceful elections and the meaning of democracy,” Dube said.

The SA Council of Churches will hold a national day of prayer on May 5 to pray for a “peaceful election process, underpinned by integrity and free of intimidation”.

Meanwhile, the ANC has said its candidate list comprises more women and the youth.

This was announced by the party’s secretary-general, Fikile Mbalula, on Monday during a press briefing.

“More than half of our candidates, 53%, are women. And 40% are young people, traditional leaders, persons with disability and members of the LGBTQ+ community,” he said.

Referring to those who appeared on the lists who had been implicated in state capture, he said: “Of the persons named in the State Capture Commission Report, only 20 are current or former NEC (national executive committee) members and/or public representatives. Of these, only six appear on the ANC 2024 candidate lists,” he said.

The Mercury