File photo: Kendridge Mathabathe

Johannesburg -

The Freedom Front Plus will top the 2014 general elections ballot paper, the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) said on Wednesday.

The party was selected during a ballot paper draw at the signing of the IEC's electoral code of conduct in Midrand, north of Johannesburg.

Earlier, IEC chairwoman Pansy Tlakula said 33 political parties intended to contest in the May 7 general election.

“Three of them are yet to comply [with the requirements], they may be ruled out before elections. Parties still have until March 24 to submit outstanding [submissions].”

Economic Freedom Fighters national co-ordinator Mpho Ramakatsa urged the IEC to review the matter of emerging parties having to pay a deposit to participate in the election.

“We were forced to pay a hefty participation fee. This is a matter that needs revisiting.”

The deposit for parties contesting the National Assembly is R200 000 and R45 000 per province that they contest.

The EFF took President Jacob Zuma, Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor, and the IEC to court over the amount earlier this month.

Last week, the High Court in Pretoria dismissed the EFF's application for an interdict relating to the payment of the deposit to the IEC.

On Wednesday, Ramakatsa also said parties were not receiving equal media coverage.

“The SABC must give all parties fair and equal coverage during elections.”

He said the credibility of the IEC was an important factor and urged Tlakula to resign.

A number of parties asked for the political playing field to be equal.

Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said the use of state resources during electioneering was an abuse of power which did not level the playing field for other parties.

National Freedom Party leader Zandile kaMagwaza-Msibi said it was the first time her party would contest national and provincial elections.

She condemned the violence in KwaZulu-Natal linked to campaigning.

“The NFP has lost some of its leaders and members. This is unacceptable. Power attained through violence can only be maintained through violence.”

Patriotic Alliance secretary general Kenny Kunene requested that all parties be respectfully addressed by their names, “and not the gangster party”.

FF Plus leader Pieter Mulder said the party had recently celebrated its 20th anniversary.

“We are one of only four parties from the 1994 elections that still exist today.”

Mpumalanga's Bushbuckridge Residents Association was among the 33 parties who signed the code of conduct.

There are 49 days left until the country's fifth democratic elections.

“Contesting parties have their work cut out for them. It remains [their] responsibility to explain the code of conduct to your supporters,” Tlakula said.

IEC commissioner Bongani Finca said it was important for South Africans born after 1994 to realise the importance of voting.

“We are welcoming those born after 1994, we want them to know that it is cool to vote.”

He acknowledged that this would be the first election without former president Nelson Mandela, and said the success of the election would be used to honour and pay tribute to the struggle icon. - Sapa