Count­down to SA polls in May

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NATION - MARY JANE MPHAHLELE Nokuthula Mbatha

WITH UP to 270 reg­is­tered par­ties vy­ing to con­test the 2019 gen­eral elec­tions, the Elec­toral Com­mis­sion of SA (IEC) says it needs to en­sure they meet all the re­quire­ments.

The elec­tions have been set down for May and the fi­nal voter reg­is­tra­tion week­end will be the end of Jan­uary.

IEC spokesper­son Kate Bapela said the num­ber of reg­is­tered par­ties was not yet fi­nal as more par­ties were ex­pected to reg­is­ter.

“The elec­tion has not yet been pro­claimed, there­fore we have no in­di­ca­tion of which par­ties will in ac­tual fact con­test the event, although all of the reg­is­tered par­ties are el­i­gi­ble pro­vided they sub­mit their can­di­dates and pay the req­ui­site de­posit,” Bapela said.

A large num­ber of small par­ties are ex­pected to reg­is­ter. A re­cent en­trant is the Na­tional Union of Me­tal­work­ers of South Africa (Numsa) which was given the go-ahead to func­tion as a po­lit­i­cal party.

Ac­cord­ing to the IEC, there is no spe­cific num­ber of votes at­tached to a seat.

In­stead, the min­i­mum num­ber of votes re­quired per seat is cal­cu­lated in terms of a quota that is de­pen­dent on the voter turnout in an elec­tion.

In a re­port tabled be­fore Par­lia­ment in Septem­ber, the IEC al­lo­cated R133 mil­lion for the 2017 fi­nan­cial year and said 90% of this was based on pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion, with 10% al­lo­cated equally among the par­ties.

The ANC re­ceived R79m from the IEC in the last fi­nan­cial year, the DA was al­lo­cated R28m and the EFF R10m.

The IFP re­ceived R3.7m, the Na­tional Free­dom Party R2m with the Free­dom Front Plus ob­tain­ing R1.9m.

A re­port by Afro­barom­e­ter last week showed that the ma­jor­ity of South Africans are will­ing to give the ANC an­other chance at gov­ern­ing the coun­try, while the DA has lost sup­port.

The sur­vey noted an in­crease in sup­port for the EFF and a de­cline in in­ten­tion to vote for the ANC among the youth and the DA’s white vot­ers.

Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Ralph Mathekga has cast doubt on whether the par­ties will score big. He said more par­ties are ex­pected to en­ter the polls, with the ANC los­ing more votes.

“I don’t see the ANC able to turn things around. As the state cap­ture in­quiry keeps go­ing ahead, the ANC keeps look­ing bad,” said Mathekga.

Mathekga said the EFF, which has shown growth in mem­ber­ship, mostly among young peo­ple, was likely to earn more seats in Par­lia­ment. FOR­MER ANC North West leader Supra Mahumapelo has warned that the bat­tle to over­turn the dis­band­ment of the pro­vin­cial lead­er­ship is far from over.

The axed pro­vin­cial chair­per­son, who stepped down as North West’s Pre­mier early this year, yes­ter­day said that de­spite the South Gaut­eng High Court’s rul­ing that the ap­pli­ca­tion he and four oth­ers brought was “not ur­gent”, they had al­ready in­structed their lawyers to en­sure that it goes back on the court roll.

The group has, among other things, ac­cused the rul­ing party’s na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (NEC) of met­ing out un­fair treat­ment against their province. They main­tain that when the top lead­er­ship took a de­ci­sion to dis­solve the pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (PEC) four months ago, it failed to con­sider a num­ber of is­sues and in­stead “cut cor­ners in deal­ing with com­plex mat­ters”.

Shortly af­ter court had ad­journed, Mahumapelo said their tar­get was now the next na­tional gen­eral coun­cil – a plat­form he said they would use with­out “wink­ing”, to raise their qualms.

“It is not our own in­sis­tence that we come here (to court), we were forced by cir­cum­stances. If the mat­ter is not sorted out now, the na­tional gen­eral coun­cil (NGC) will (sort it).

“Our hope is that the NGC will re­solve th­ese is­sues so the fu­ture NEC does not have to cut cor­ners when they deal with this.”

He lashed out at those who he said sought to set­tle scores post the Nas­rec con­fer­ence. He fur­ther raised dis­con­tent with the man­ner he said the NEC has been run­ning its af­fairs since De­cem­ber last year.

Mahumapelo used the op­por­tu­nity to lament the fact that un­like in other provinces, pro­vi­sions were not made by the top struc­ture to em­ploy a task team to their province, say­ing that it doesn’t work when the rules of the game are changed where the North West was con­cerned.

In its court sub­mis­sion, the ANC said there was no ba­sis for Mahumapelo to sub­mit the mat­ter as ur­gent, or for him to ap­ply as the fifth ap­pli­cant, but ad­vo­cate Dali Mpofu con­tended that his client had the right to choose his le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tive, adding it ap­peared that the ANC sought to deny him (Mahumapelo) his right to le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

“If Mahumapelo has de­cided to as­so­ciate him­self with the ap­pli­cants there is noth­ing that the other side can do,” Mpofu said.

In also high­light­ing the ur­gency of the mat­ter, Mpofu told the court that the case was a se­ri­ous one that war­ranted ur­gent at­ten­tion as it dealt with “weighty is­sues of con­sti­tu­tional im­por­tance”, ones he said might end up at the Con­sti­tu­tional Court.

But his sub­mis­sions did not hold water as the high court struck the case off the roll. The con­tin­u­ous trend for pro­vin­cial par­ties to haul their mother body to court over struc­tural mat­ters is not new but is a grow­ing phe­nom­e­non. Last year, then sec­re­tary-gen­eral, Gwede Man­tashe said the jus­tice sys­tem would be there all the time and that in the event of court cases, the ANC would be read­ily avail­able to deal with them.

Na­tional spokesper­son Pule Mabe failed to re­spond to ques­tions on the ANC’s view about the North West PEC mat­ter.

Mean­while, out­side the high court, party mem­bers from the North West chanted songs while hold­ing plac­ards that called for the PEC struc­ture to be re­in­stated.

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