The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says the accusation by ActionSA, one of the parties contesting the 2021 Municipal Elections, about the ballot paper design is baseless and mischievous.
The issue of the design of the ballot paper is about the absence of the abbreviated name of ActionSA on the ward ballots which the Electoral Commission says was absent because ActionSA elected not to register an abbreviated name or acronym at the point of registering as a party.
INSINUATION IS BASELESS AND MISCHIEVOUS
“The insinuation that the Commission is acting without due impartiality is without foundation and mischievous,” said the Electoral Commission.
It said ActionSA, in their documents in which they applied for registration as a political party, and which must be publically lodged in terms of the regulations, responded with a “Not Applicable” in the space where the political party was required to indicate its abbreviated name.
“The party went further to indicate that “there is no abbreviation of the name of the party” as part of its application documentation. The application was lodged in Government Gazette 43940, published on 27 November 2020,” the Commission said.
However, according to ActionSA, the deadline for the IEC to remedy the absence of ActionSA’s name from the ballot papers came and went without a response from the Commission.
As such, the party said it would presume that the Commission has no intention to remedy the matter.
READ: IEC’s ability to deliver ‘free and fair elections’ questioned by ActionSA
ACTIONSA THREATENS TO TAKE LEGAL ACTION
“In this regard ActionSA has concluded a meeting with our legal team, who are bewildered by the Commission’s refusal to remedy this issue. They have affirmed our position that there is no legal basis for the Commission to refuse this request and are confident the courts will share this perspective.”
“The perspective is that, by refusing to remedy this issue, the IEC is in breach of its overarching responsibilities to ensure free and fair elections – a critical component of which is ensuring voters are able to identify their political parties in various ways that include the party logo, party name, acronym and party leaders,” said ActionSA.
The party which is led by former Johannesburg Mayor, Herman Mashaba said that it was ironic that the Commission has refused to fix this matter because it was the Commission itself, which cited a study by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) which found that names and abbreviated names are the most important party identifiers on the ballot paper.
It said that ActionSA’s legal team will immediately begin drafting papers on an urgent basis, and a press conference will be held on Wednesday morning to brief the media.