Scores of par­ties line up for elec­tions

Business Day - - NATIONAL - Claudi Mailovich and Natasha Marrian

The num­ber of par­ties set to con­test the 2019 elec­tions has grown dra­mat­i­cally, with 47 new en­ti­ties reg­is­tered since Jan­uary 2018 and a fur­ther 37 ap­pli­ca­tions pend­ing, says the Elec­toral Com­mis­sion of SA (IEC). The IEC hopes the nearly 300 reg­is­tered par­ties will not all con­test the na­tional elec­tions sched­uled for later in 2019.

Dis­grun­tled mem­bers of es­tab­lished po­lit­i­cal par­ties have formed break­away move­ments in re­cent months, aim­ing to take part in the elec­tions.

Sup­port­ers of Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa have cau­tioned that the surge in small par­ties and splin­ter groups is meant to un­der­mine him and the ANC in the polls.

Ac­cord­ing to ANC in­sid­ers, con­tes­ta­tion in­side the ANC still per­sists after the party’s di­vi­sive Nas­rec elec­tive con­fer­ence in 2017, and some of the fac­tion form­ing is seen as an at­tempt to weaken the pres­i­dent.

Ramaphosa is yet to an­nounce the date of the elec­tions. They are set to be hotly con­tested as op­po­si­tion par­ties hope to push the ANC be­low 50% of voter sup­port in cru­cial prov­inces such as Gaut­eng.

In De­cem­ber, newly founded smaller par­ties were thrust into the lime­light when dis­graced for­mer SABC COO Hlaudi Mot­soe­neng an­nounced his own party, while ANC mem­ber Mzwanele Manyi this week joined the African Trans­for­ma­tion Move­ment (ATM), which was ini­tially a lobby group for for­mer pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma.

IEC chief elec­toral of­fi­cer Sy Mam­abolo said on Thurs­day 285 par­ties are cur­rently reg­is­tered. The IEC was still pro­cess­ing 37 more ap­pli­ca­tions.

“Of course, this hope­fully does not mean we will see a 200-party bal­lot pa­per,” Mam­abolo said.

Par­ties will only make it onto the bal­lot when they pay the R200,000 reg­is­tra­tion fee to con­test na­tion­ally, as well as R45,000 per prov­ince.

Mam­abolo said the IEC has en­gaged Ramaphosa on the elec­tions date, but would use an op­por­tu­nity to meet with him soon to “plead” with him to an­nounce the date be­fore the last voter reg­is­tra­tion week­end.

The elec­tion timetable will only kick in when the poll is pro­claimed in the gov­ern­ment gazette. The last op­por­tu­ni­ties to regis­ter to vote will be on Jan­uary 26 and 27.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.