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