EFF says IEC favoured ANC in candidate nomination legal battle
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THE EFF has accused the ANC of exercising undue influence over the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC), which it blames for favouring the governing party.
The EFF has joined the DA’s Constitutional Court challenge against the IEC’s decision to reopen the candidate nomination process for the 2021 local government elections.
The official opposition wants the apex court to declare the commission’s move unconstitutional, unlawful, invalid and reviewed and set aside.
In an affidavit filed by EFF secretary-general Marshall Dlamini, the party complained that there are prevailing suspicions that the IEC made the decision to reopen the candidate nomination process to favour the ANC.
”These suspicions seem to be born of what should be common cause facts. These are the fact that the ANC has written various correspondence requesting, in some instances demanding, that the commission reopen the candidate nomination process,” Dlamini explained.
According to the EFF, despite the apex court being seized with the IEC’s unsuccessful application to have the municipal polls postponed and having reserved its judgment, the ANC brought, and later withdrew, its bid to compel the commission at the Electoral Court.
Dlamini said after the Constitutional Court granted its order in the IEC application on September 3, the ANC announced that it would ask the commission to reopen the candidate nomination process.
”This clearly evidences the ANC’s desperate need to have the process reopened. One can readily appreciate such desperation in light of the extent to which the ANC failed to submit their lists,” he added.
Dlamini said the suspicions were compounded by the fact that the IEC reopened the submission of candidate nomination lists for extra hours at a time when the ANC was desperately scrambling to upload the lists and that there is no doubt that the governing party earnestly wants the process reopened.
He added that the ANC stands to disproportionately benefit from the IEC’s decision to reopen the submission of candidate nomination lists.
”That is not free and fair as required by our electoral laws ... The commission must not only be fair and ensure free elections but must also be seen to be so. Its decision in inimical to this and that in itself warrants the reconsideration of its decision,” Dlamini said.
He said the speculations were fuelled by the fact that the IEC specifically opposed the EFF’s application for the exact same remedy when the commission sought to have the elections postponed, claiming there would be no time to accommodate the re-running of the candidate list process.
The IFP argues that the Constitutional Court’s September 3 order does not permit an amendment to the elections timetable for the purpose of extending the cut-off date for the submission of candidate nomination lists.
”It (the Constitutional Court order) does not start the process of the election timetable de novo (afresh), a belief which the commission appears to labour under,” IFP leader Velenkosini Hlabisa said in the party’s answering affidavit.
Hlabisa said the IEC has already demonstrated in its application to have the municipal polls postponed that there are no factors which necessitate the extension of the candidate nomination timetable.
”An amendment to the timetable, in order to permit new and further nominations, favours (or at the very least is perceived to favour) only a few political parties.
“Whether that perception is correct or otherwise, it undermines the free and fair elections by having different rules for different political participants,” Hlabisa said.
The IEC opposes the DA’s application, while the Makana Independent New Deal indicated that it does not intend to oppose the matter and will abide by the court’s decision.