ANC: Zille made spurious allegations against party, harmed Concourt’s reputation
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THE ANC has accused DA federal council chairperson Helen Zille of making spurious, unfounded and vexatious accusations against the governing party and harming the reputation of the Constitutional Court.
In its notice of further grounds to oppose the DA’s apex court application to have the decision to reopen the candidate nomination process for the 2021 local government elections declared unconstitutional, unlawful and invalid, the ANC also accused the official opposition of trying to second-guess the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC).
”The DA has publicly made spurious, unfounded and vexatious accusations against the ANC and this Court, in which it claimed that the ANC had received advance warning of the content of the judgment delivered on 4 September 2021.
The DA’s comments were false, but the DA made them knowing them to be false and without any regard to the impact they have on the public perception about the standing and reputation of this court,” read the ANC’s grounds for opposition filed this week.
In the days leading up to the Constitutional Court’s judgment on the IEC’s bid to have the municipal polls postponed, Zille claimed that the ANC withdrew its Electoral Court application to have the candidate nomination process reopened because it received advance warning of the contents of the judgment that dismissed the commission's attempt to have the November 1 elections shelved until February next year.
However, the ANC has told the apex court that the accusation is false and has been made recklessly by the DA.
”The DA has made scurrilous and baseless accusations that the ANC is working clandestinely with the IEC or that the IEC has intentionally sought to favour the ANC ... These allegations were made with reckless disregard about the damaging impact of the statements to the standing of the IEC as an independent institution,” the governing party explained.
According to the ANC, the Municipal Electoral Act requires the IEC to have regard to the freeness and fairness of elections when amending the election timetable.
”The IEC’s determination can only be challenged on circumscribed grounds, such as irrationality and unreasonableness, but may not be second-guessed as the DA wrongly seeks to do. The DA’s arguments are irrational,” the ANC stated.
The ANC said the DA concedes that fresh registration of candidates will be permissible in “certain circumstances”, but it irrationally argues that in the present case, the commission should not have amended the timetable to allow all candidates who wish to register afresh.
The distinction sought to be drawn by the DA in the matter is wholly irrational and borders on abuse of court process, according to the ANC.
In its notice to oppose, the IEC argues that the relief sought by the DA is untenable in law, premature on facts and amounts to an impermissible attempt by a political party involved in an election to have the Constitutional Court second-guess its decisions concerning the proper holding of polls midway through the electoral process.
The IEC also accused the DA of failing to take into account the need for affording appropriate respect to the commission in making decision in fulfilment of its constitutional duty to ensure free and fair elections.
In a directive issued on Thursday, the Constitutional Court gave the IEC, the ANC and any other party opposing the DA’s application until midday on Monday to file their answering affidavits.
The DA must file its replying affidavit by Tuesday while the IEC, ANC and any other party or amicus curiae (friend of the court) have to file their written submissions no later than Wednesday.