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LETTER: IEC’s take on top court’s ruling is wrong

Electoral commission overlooks the order dismissing the EFF’s bid for late candidate registration

08 September 2021 – 14:37 https://spkt.io/e/2622483

The announcement by the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) that it intends reopening candidate registration for the upcoming municipal elections comes as a surprise to the opposition, lawyers and all who are equipped to “read for meaning”.

The law reports are littered with cases in which political parties that did not get their acts together within prescribed times were given short shrift by the courts.

The myopia of those deployed on the upper deck of the IEC has led them to overlook, ignore or wish away the order (paragraph six) of the highest court in the land dismissing the attempt on the part of the EFF to secure an order permitting late registration of candidates. That, as lawyers are wont to say, is the end of the matter.

The IFP says the IEC’s interpretation of the Constitutional Court ruling is political and not legal; actually, its interpretation is just plain wrong. The DA has pointed out that, “This has never been granted before when other parties have requested leeway on an IEC deadline.” It too seems to overlook that the “leeway” on late registration of candidates was sought and refused to the EFF by the Constitutional Court in this case. QED.

The IEC must reconsider its position. Any party that has to litigate so obvious a point due to recalcitrance on the part of the IEC should ask for punitive personal costs awards against the misguided officials.

The political parties that did not get their act together timeously will have to live with the consequences of their inefficiency, bad management or bad luck in late lodgement of the necessary applications. Free and fair elections are not possible when their organisation becomes a moving target that is shiftily shifted to suit some but not others.

Paul Hoffman, SC
Director, Accountability Now

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