Small par­ties hit out at high fees for elec­tions

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - HENRIËTTE GELDEN­HUYS

SMALLER po­lit­i­cal par­ties are not im­pressed at the ex­pense in­volved in con­test­ing both na­tional and pro­vin­cial elec­tions, charg­ing that even if they’re reg­is­tered, they can’t af­ford to fight the bat­tle.

Reg­is­tra­tion fees for the elec­tion are R500 per party, ac­cord­ing to Kate Bapela, chief com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer of the In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (IEC), who said the IEC would an­nounce “in due course” ex­actly which par­ties would con­test next year’s elec­tions.

Po­lit­i­cal par­ties, how­ever, say they’re ex­pect­ing more can­di­dates than in 2009, when it cost R180 000 to con­test the elec­tion on a na­tional level, and R40 000 per prov­ince.

Par­ties that fail to get a seat in the Na­tional As­sem­bly or pro­vin­cial leg­is­la­ture lose their de­posits to the Na­tional Trea­sury, while those which win a seat are re­im­bursed.

“The com­mis­sion de­cides on a de­posit, which it re­turns to the party in the event they se­cure a seat,” Bapela said.

Stephen Good­son, leader of the Abo­li­tion of In­come Tax and Usury party, said “un­less a fairy god­mother comes along” the party would not be able to con­test the elec­tions.

“It’s ridicu­lous to pay so much money. Only the big par­ties can par­tic­i­pate. It’s a ma­jor fi­nan­cial bar­rier to the smaller par­ties. If you can’t come up with the money, that’s that,” he com­plained.

He sug­gested it would cost a min­i­mum of R200 000 to con­test the elec­tion on a na­tional level.

“Even if you do come up with the money, it’s a huge risk be­cause if you’re not elected you lose the money,” he said.

Jack Miller, leader of the Cape Party which wants the Western Cape to be­come an in­de­pen­dent coun­try, said he had not yet de­cided whether the party would en­ter the fray next year. The big­gest hur­dle was “the pro­hib­i­tive fees”, he said.

“It’s likely to be in the re­gion of R200 000 na­tion­ally, and R45 000 per prov­ince.

“For a party like Cape, we cer­tainly don’t have the same fi­nan­cial strength as the DA or the ANC.

“We would love to con­test the na­tional elec­tion and be­lieve we would do very well if we did, but it’s very dif­fi­cult for par­ties that are not part of the main­stream po­lit­i­cal struc­ture,” he said.

Demo­cratic Labour Party leader John Jul­lies, who de­scribed the party as a “voice for coloured peo­ple”, said his party hoped to con­test the elec­tions, and added that he was busy writ­ing let­ters to 20 big com­pa­nies in an ef­fort to se­cure spon­sors.

JJ Jan­uarie, leader of the Na­tional In­de­pen­dent Civic Or­gan­i­sa­tion (Nico), said his party, which fought for the rights of the poor and stood against elec­tric­ity and wa­ter cuts, would strug­gle to se­cure funds to con­test the elec­tions.

“The play­ing fields are not level. If you are not in power or in ex­ec­u­tive po­si­tions, no one wants to in­vest in you,” Jan­uarie said.

The Peo­ple’s Demo­cratic Move­ment (PDM) was reg­is­tered, but wouldn’t con­test the elec­tions be­cause it was “too ex­pen­sive”, its leader Christo­pher John Groot­boom said.

The party fo­cused on dis­ad­van­taged com­mu­ni­ties, par­tic­u­larly farm dwellers, he said.

Bapela, ex­plain­ing the costs in­volved in con­test­ing the elec­tions, said the de­posits en­sured that only par­ties of sub­stance par­tic­i­pated.

“Perti­nently, it seeks to ob­vi­ate the pos­si­bil­ity of a very long bal­lot which raises the costs of print­ing to un­rea­son­ably high pro­por­tions.”


Zuma off to Sri Lanka for talks

PRES­I­DENT Ja­cob Zuma was headed for Sri Lanka yes­ter­day to at­tend the Com­mon­wealth Heads of Gov­ern­ment Meet­ing, Deputy In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions Min­is­ter Ebrahim Ebrahim said.

He said for­eign min­is­ters and heads of state would form part­ner­ships, and fo­cus on how to make eco­nomic growth more in­clu­sive and sus­tain­able.

South Africa’s po­si­tion was un­der­pinned by the Na­tional De­vel­op­ment Plan, which aimed to erad­i­cate poverty and in­equal­ity by 2030.

Next Thurs­day, Zuma would host Botswana Pres­i­dent Seretse Khama Ian Khama in South Africa for an in­au­gu­ral bi-na­tional com­mis­sion.

“The ob­jec­tive of the visit is to strengthen and deepen the ex­ist­ing his­tor­i­cal and fra­ter­nal re­la­tions that ex­ist be­tween South Africa and Botswana,” Ebrahim said.

Civil ser­vants are ‘en­gine’ of state

WORK­ERS in the pub­lic ser­vice sec­tor are the en­gine South Africa runs on, Pub­lic Ser­vice Min­is­ter Lindiwe Sisulu said.

Speak­ing at the Na­tional Batho Pele Ex­cel­lence Awards in Midrand, she said, “…the pub­lic ser­vice needs to un­der­stand that if the en­gine is not per­form­ing op­ti­mally, the state can­not de­liver as fast as it should.”

Sisulu said if she had her way she would have given pub­lic ser­vice labour unions awards for their un­der­stand­ing and ded­i­ca­tion.

“Un­for­tu­nately the pro­fes­sional na­ture of our re­la­tion­ship does not al­low for such ges­tures that might be seen as pa­tro­n­is­ing,” she said.

SA to pro­mote hu­man rights

SOUTH Africa will use its ex­pe­ri­ence in democ­racy in the UN Hu­man Rights Coun­cil, Deputy In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions Min­is­ter Ebrahim Ebrahim said yes­ter­day.

This po­si­tion af­firmed the in­ex­tri­ca­ble link be­tween eco­nomic, so­cial and cul­tural rights, with civil and po­lit­i­cal rights, said Ebrahim.

The coun­try was elected to serve on the coun­cil with 14 other mem­ber states of the UN.

South Africa re­ceived 169 out of 193 votes.

Ebrahim said the coun­try had pre­vi­ously served two con­sec­u­tive terms on the coun­cil as a found­ing mem­ber.

Dust con­trol law in force

EN­VI­RON­MEN­TAL Af­fairs Min­is­ter Edna Molewa has gazetted the Na­tional Dust Con­trol Reg­u­la­tions, her depart­ment said yes­ter­day.

“Any per­son who con­ducts any ac­tiv­ity in such a way as to give rise to dust in quan­ti­ties and con­cen­tra­tions that may ex­ceed the dust­fall stan­dard set out… must, upon re­ceipt of a no­tice from an air qual­ity of­fi­cer, im­ple­ment dust­fall mon­i­tor­ing pro­grammes.”

The depart­ment said the reg­u­la­tions al­lowed an air qual­ity of­fi­cer to ask any­one to un­der­take a dust­fall mon­i­tor­ing pro­gramme if it was sus­pected that the per­son con­tra­vened the reg­u­la­tions.

Ramaphosa a ‘new boer’, says Malema

ANC deputy pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa’s use of the term “boer” re­veals his hypocrisy, Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers leader Julius Malema said in a let­ter pub­lished on Pol­i­tic­sweb.

He said the term re­ferred dur­ing the strug­gle to the re­pres­sive, vi­o­lent and racist apartheid sys­tem, but that Ramaphosa used the term to “hood­wink and mis­lead”.

Malema said the coun­try should re­ject Ramaphosa’s hypocrisy be­cause he was a “new boer”.

“To this day the work­ers have not been given R12 500, and Cyril Ramaphosa is ben­e­fit­ing from the blood and sweat of th­ese work­ers as a di­rec­tor of Lon­don Mine (Lon­min),” Malema wrote in his let­ter.

He was re­fer­ring to the R12 500-a-month ba­sic salary de­manded by work­ers at Lon­min’s Marikana plat­inum mine dur­ing their strike last Au­gust.

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