Small parties hit out at high fees for elections
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.