File photo: Timothy Bernard

Cape Town - The future of the Dagga Party might go up in a puff of smoke along with 57 other parties that face the cut from the official list of registered political parties next month.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) told these political parties, including 19 from the Western Cape, they had until mid-August to prove they were still active and avoid deregistration.

In the Western Cape the number of parties may halve from 36 parties registered provincially to 17.

IEC spokeswoman Kate Bapela said they had sent notices in November to political parties not represented in municipalities, provincial legislatures or in Parliament, to renew their registration.

She said parties not represented were required by law to notify the IEC of their continued existence.

Currently 224 parties are registered with the IEC, of which 139 parties are registered nationally.

Six of the Western Cape parties facing the chop had contested provincial and national elections, while 13 had participated only in the local government elections.

Bapela said that the list of parties was not static and new parties continued to register.

She said parties that wanted to contest the 2014 elections had to be on the registered party list, submit candidates’ lists and pay a deposit.

Dagga Party leader Jeremy Acton said his party was hoping to contest the national elections next year.

Its main objective is to legalise the use of dagga.

The party contested the 2011 local government elections but only in the Langeberg Municipality, where it failed to secure a seat.

Acton said he wanted to register his party on the national list now but added he was struggling to collect the 500 required signatures from registered voters.

He moved from Montagu to Cape Town in December but said he still faced a police investigation for possession of drugs.

Four charges of possessing drugs were withdrawn against him in Robertson Magistrate’s Court in November.

Acton said that he had smoked dagga for the past 23 years.

“I use to smoke eight joints a day, but I am too busy now and only smoke three, maybe four, a day,” he said.

He said he would have enough signatures in time for next year’s elections.

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Cape Tmes

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