With the Constitutional Court expected to hear the IEC’s application for the postponement of Local Government Elections scheduled for October, smaller parties are calling for elections to go ahead as they are ready to meet the existing deadlines. Picture: Chris Collingridge
With the Constitutional Court expected to hear the IEC’s application for the postponement of Local Government Elections scheduled for October, smaller parties are calling for elections to go ahead as they are ready to meet the existing deadlines. Picture: Chris Collingridge

Smaller parties in W Cape ready for elections

By Tshego Lepule Time of article published Aug 17, 2021

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SMALLER parties in the Western Cape say they are ready to contest elections in October, as the Constitutional Court is expected to hear arguments over election postponement on Friday.

With the deadline for submission of political party candidate lists contesting the upcoming election due on August 23, parties in the province told Weekend Argus they would meet the deadline, despite the uncertainties.

This past Wednesday was the last day for those wishing to oppose the Independent Electoral Commission’s application for a postponement of elections to February 23, to submit their arguments.

The DA, alongside its former leader, Mmusi Maimane who now heads the One South Africa Movement, will be opposing the matter during the virtual hearing on August 20. The ANC also joined proceedings to support the postponement, while the EFF and IFP have expressed their support for a postponement.

On Friday Chairman of the Institute of Election Management Services in Africa and former vice chairperson of the IEC, Terry Tselane tweeted that he does not believe the IEC would be granted a postponement.

“Based on law, processes followed and IEC submission, I don’t think the Constitutional Court will be persuaded to postpone the election. The implication of this is that the Municipal elections in RSA will take place on the October 27, as determined by the Minister,” read the tweet.

The IEC’s timetable for an October election shows applications for special votes are meant to begin on August 18, following the cut off date for parties to submit their candidate lists together with documentation and deposits.

Parties contesting elections are to pay R3 500 for participating in metropolitan municipalities, R2 000 in a local municipality with wards, R1 000 for district municipalities and another R1 000 for a ward.

And smaller parties in the Western Cape say they are ready to proceed for an October election.

Noel Constable from the Karoo Democratic Force, the kingmaker in the highly contested Beaufort West Municipality, said they would meet the deadline.

“Our candidate selection process is complete and we are currently using the IEC's online system to register our candidates, and so we are confident that we will meet the deadline.

“We will be contesting four municipalities, Beaufort West, Prince Albert, Laingsburg and 10 wards in the Breede Valley. We have had challenges, but we are ready for elections,” he said.

The GOOD Party’s Brett Herron said they continued to work as if the election would be held on October 27.

“We will submit our candidates by August 23. Our candidate selection process is almost completed.

“Some candidate selections are currently in the appeal period and others are being finalized this week. We are ready,” he said.

Even the new kids on the block, African Restoration Alliance said they were ready with a candidate list to contest elections in all the provinces, despite being formed just eight months ago.

“We are prepared for what is coming even though these will be our first elections,” said the party’s Cheslyn Swartz.

“We are ready to start this process of rebuilding, restoring South Africa’s municipalities and will be contesting in all the provinces, particularly in the Western Cape,” Swartz said.

Grant Haskins from the African Christian Democratic Party said the party would be able to meet the set deadline.

“Our candidate selection process concludes this weekend, so we are on track,” he added.

The Independent Civic Organisation of South Africa (ICOSA) which has been a kingmaker in the Kannaland municipality after the DA and ANC’s unusual coalition that was formed after the 2016 elections, said they would begin registering their candidates this Thursday.

“We are having our final meeting with our selection committee on Monday and will make the final decision by Thursday so that the registration process can begin.

“We see no reason why the elections cannot take place in October because everyone has known of this date for months and communities are tired and want to vote in new leadership,” Jeffrey Donson.

Political analyst Dr Ralph Mathekga said while the IEC might go through the motions of keeping to the timetable, the probability of holding the elections in October were slim, and had put undue pressure on smaller parties to prepare.

“The reality is that this whole thing has been orchestrated towards the postponement of elections, the tight time-lines mean some parties will realistically not be able to meet the deadline, therefore further making the IEC’s case that elections in October will not be free and fair.

“Parties should be given enough time to go through their processes, and if for whatever reason some cannot meet these, it makes the case that October elections will likely not happen, so it is a waste of time. And it is not like there will be any consequences for those who fail to submit these lists,” he said.

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