200 regis­tered par­ties range from the big play­ers to those no one has heard of

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - NONI MOKATI

COULD you put your elec­tion cross next to the Swag­ger Peo­ple’s Con­ven­tion? Or how about cast­ing a vote for His Lord­ship to Save and Lead Party?

They may be catchy party names to some peo­ple, down­right ridicu­lous to oth­ers, but deadly se­ri­ous to those who pay good money and wade through the pa­per­work and pro­ce­dural red tape to reg­is­ter their par­ties.

There are 200 par­ties regis­tered for this year’s mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions and they range from the big play­ers that ev­ery­one’s come to know, to the par­ties that next to no­body has heard of.

But South Africa is no stranger to party names of all kinds since South Africans went to the polls back in April 1994. Some of the old favourites that have hung around for the past 22 years in­clude the Abo­li­tion of In­come Tax and Usury Party, the Su­per Party, the Keep it Straight and Sim­ple (Kiss), and even the Sport Party.

A quick look through the In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral Com- mission’s web­sites show up a host of other par­ties that may catch your eye – like the South African Busi­ness Party, the African Bond of Unity, the Africa Borwa Kgut­lisa Botho party (South Africa bring back hu­man­ity), and the So­fa­sonke Party (We’ll die to­gether).

Names do mat­ter, how­ever. Party names need to re­flect the times, they need to be memorable, not con­fus­ing, and they need to sum up some­thing of the mission of the party.

Even the rul­ing party, the ANC, had to go through a re­vamp of its name. Back in 1912 the or­gan­i­sa­tion was called the South African Na­tive Na­tional Congress. To­day, 104 years later, the SANNC would sim­ply not work. A name that works also needs to be an easy to re­mem­ber acro­nym, like the DA, EFF or IFP.

Ac­cord­ing to IEC spokesman Kate Bapela, par­ties have the right to reg­is­ter what­ever phrases and names they choose, so long as the names don’t con­tain swear words and fall within the am­bit of the IEC rules. The name can­not in­cite vi­o­lence or con­tain hate speech.

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