The IEC is right on candidate nominations

Graham McIntosh says excluding the ruling party's candidates won't be good for democracy

The IEC is correct to allow Candidate Nominations to occur after the Voter Registration on 18th and 19th September 2021.   The IRR’s “#SaveThe Vote” campaign is misunderstanding the mandate of the IEC. 

The IEC’s statutory responsibility is to competently deliver to South Africans the mechanisms for credible and effective elections at all levels and at all times.  The IEC is not interested in the fortunes or misfortunes of political parties.  An important component, nonetheless, of the IEC is its National Party Liaison Commission where all registered political parties participate.

The IEC, acted prudently, when faced with retired Judge Moseneke’s, now discredited, recommendation to postpone the elections, by approaching the Consitutional Court for clarity, which the IEC has now received. The IEC’s Kate Bapela’s statement on 6 September 2021 perfectly explains what the IEC’s responsibilites are, after the Constitutional Court’s Judgement to the effect that the local government Elections may not be postponed. 

The relevant extract from her statement is

“The scheme of the Municipal Electoral Act is that the voter registration deadline is intended to precede the candidate nomination deadline.  For example, persons can only be nominated as candidates once registered on the voters’ roll and provided they are registered in the relevant segment concerned. It is therefore necessary to allow political parties and independent candidates an opportunity to nominate candidates after the registration weekend of 18-19 September 2021 has occurred and after the voters’ roll has closed.”

It was with understandable glee that the ANC’s rival political parties noted the breakdown in its administration.  The other parties were all ready with their lists of candidates.  Astonishingly, the DA has nominated its full number of PR and Ward candidates in each and every the municipality. 

Nonetheless, the ANC’s inability to nominate candidates in the staggering number of 93 muncipalities (30%) while being the biggest and governing political party, will not be good for any democracy anywhere, but particularly for our South African democracy.  The IEC has now lobbed the ball firmly back into the ANC’s court and there is a level playing field for all the registered political parties, including the ANC.  Now it can only blame itself.

The collapse and rot in the ANC is in clear view and in general.  The imminent Local Government Elections (LGE) are highlighting the weaknesses in their administration and internal democratic processes under the leadership of their Acting Secretary General, Jessie Duarte. 

While their staff are on strike, that will probably mean that many wards will not have ANC candidates nominated.  In the branches and in the wards there will be more challenges.  It cannot now blame the IEC.  It has been given a second chance.

Furthermore the ANC is back to assassinating rivals, as we have already seen in Copesville in Pietermaritzburg.  There are likely to be more.  Life, when competition and rivals are involved, is cheap in the ANC and, indeed, generally, in South Africa.

The IEC seems ready to manage all that is required for the National Registration on 18/19 September 2021, finalising the Candidate lists and then running the Election Day on Monday 1st November 2021. 

They have done it before and very well.  We have reason to be proud of our IEC. It is World Class.  South Africans must now do their patriotic duty and go to the polls on 1 November 2021. They must use their secret vote to support the Party that they choose.