New Candidate Registration Gets ConCourt Nod

The African National Congress (ANC) on Monday said it welcomes the decision by the Constitutional Court to dismiss the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) application to stop the reopening of candidate registration.

The DA had approached the Constitutional Court to set aside the Electoral Commission of South Africa’s (IEC) decision to amend its electoral timetable to allow candidate registration following the open voter registration weekend on 18 – 19 September 2021.

The Constitutional Court on Monday ruled that the IEC had acted correctly when it amended the electoral timetable that saw it host a voter registration weekend and reopen candidate registration.

“The judgment vindicates the position taken by the ANC that the right of citizens to vote is inextricably linked to their right to stand for public office,” said the ANC in a statement issued by national spokesperson, Pule Mabe.

“It also confirms the correctness of the support given to the IEC’s decision by the ACDP, AIC, Al Jama-ah, COPE, FF Plus, Good, PAC and the UDM. 

“We call upon the DA to refrain from further attacks on the integrity of the judiciary and the IEC.

“We thank all the citizens who used the open registration weekend to register to vote, verify or amend their registration details.”

For its part, the DA said it noted and respected the Constitutional Court ruling.

However, the DA said the court’s decision not to award costs meant that it considered the arguments the party presented in high regard.

The DA had challenged the IEC’s attempt to re-open the candidate registration, arguing that this move was a blatant attempt to bend the rules in favour of the ANC.

It had argued that while a voter registration weekend was essential to a free and fair election, re-opening the candidate registration would render the IEC open to allegations of bias to favour the ANC.

The DA argued that this conclusion would be ineluctable, given the IEC’s previous disqualifications of other parties for missing deadlines in the 2011 and 2016 elections – decisions that were upheld by the Electoral Court at the time.

“The Constitutional Court did not draw a final conclusion on whether the IEC had an ulterior motive in re-opening the candidate nomination process, saying it could not draw this conclusion merely on the basis of the papers before the court,” said the DA.

The IFP said it accepted the decision, but pointed to previous rulings when the court did not allow for the reopening of candidate registration.

The UDM welcomed the decision to reopen the candidate registration.

Voter registration for local government elections continues online at until midnight on Monday, 20 September 2021.

Citizens can also register at the offices of Municipal Electoral Officers until 17h00.

The ANC said it was ready to register all its candidates by the deadline of Tuesday, 21 September 2021. 

“Our candidates have been selected through a rigorous, democratic and participatory process involving communities in the choice of who should represent them in local government, the sphere of government closest to the people,” said the ANC.

“We call upon all citizens to give these ANC candidates an overwhelming mandate to continue working with them to build a better life for all.

“We call upon all members of the ANC, and other political parties, to observe the Electoral Code of Conduct and also exercise maximum tolerance as they campaign for local government elections on 1 November 2021.”