ActionSA heads to Electoral Court to force its name onto ballot papers

By Loyiso Sidimba Time of article published Oct 7, 2021

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THE ELECTORAL Court is expected, on Friday, to hear ActionSA’s bid to force the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) to include the party’s name on the ballot paper for the municipalities where it is contesting.

ActionSA has candidates in six municipalities across the country – Johannesburg, Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, eThekwini, Newcastle and KwaDukuza – but only its logo and not its name appears in the ballot paper prepared for the November 1 local government elections.

The party is taking the IEC to the Electoral Court in Mangaung on an urgent basis to overturn the commission’s decision to exclude its name from the ballot paper.

In papers filed in the Electoral Court, ActionSA wants the IEC’s decision to exclude the party from the 2021 municipal elections ballot paper to be declared unconstitutional and unlawful.

ActionSA accuses the commission of failing to uphold its objection to the exclusion of its name.

The party wants the IEC’s decision to be set aside and the commission to be directed that it must, without delay, include ActionSA’s name on the 2021 municipal ballot paper.

”The commission must, in those wards where the municipal ballot papers have been published without the name of the applicant (ActionSA), destroy all copies of same, and reissue and/or reprint such municipal ballot papers, including the full name of the Applicant,” read the party’s papers.

ActionSA national chairperson Michael Beaumont told the Electoral Court that the IEC hosted a public draw last Friday to determine the order of contesting parties on the various ballot papers and began circulating the draft ballot papers for presentation and signing off between Saturday and Monday.

”… And taking into account the number of municipalities and wards in which ActionSA is participating in and contesting in the 2021 municipal elections, it must follow that firstly, the commission has not printed a significant number of ballots, such that it cannot reprint the corrected ballots.

“Second, the irreparable harm and prejudice that will be suffered by ActionSA far exceeds that which the commission may suffer, if any,” Beaumont explained in the party’s founding affidavit.

Lead attorney in ActionSA’s case, Wendel Bloem, who is a director of Johannesburg-based law firm Mkhabela Huntley Attorneys, said the IEC had until 10am yesterday to file a notice to oppose ActionSA’s application.

”We have not received a notice to oppose from the IEC. What does that mean? It means we simply proceed, if the IEC chooses to file a late notice to oppose, it’s for the IEC then to explain themselves to the court as to why they did that, and if they file late papers in terms of whether they’re going to file an answering affidavit, then it’s for them to again explain themselves to the court,” Bloem explained.

He said ActionSA’s legal team received confirmation from the Electoral Court providing his clients with a case number, which means the urgent application has been acknowledged.

”We are saying that the decision to exclude ActionSA from the ballot records is inconsistent with section 19 (political rights) and section 190 (functions of the Electoral Commission) of the Constitution as well as section 15 of the Electoral Commission Act and is an irrational decision. And we say, as is, the constitutional rights of ActionSA are being violated,” Bloem said.

In its response to ActionSA’s complaints on Monday, the IEC said there were 14 other political parties appearing on various ballot papers without abbreviated names.

”The insinuation that the commission is acting without due impartiality is without foundation and mischievous,” the IEC said.

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Political Bureau

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