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IEC rejects the narrative that re-opening nominations for candidates favours the ANC

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has said that the narrative that its decision to re-open the nominations for candidates to stand for the local government elections favours the African National Congress (ANC) is “unfortunate”, is “not true” and rejects it.

The ANC had failed to submit candidate lists in 94 municipalities.

The IEC was on Monday briefing the media on the steps to be taken following a Constitutional Court order on Friday, 3 September 2021, dismissing its application for a postponement of the local government elections.

The IEC announced on Monday that following deliberations, it determined that a voter registration weekend is necessary ahead of the elections and will be scheduled for the weekend of 18 and 19 September 2021.

The commission further said it will be necessary to allow political parties and independent candidates an opportunity to nominate candidates after the voter registration weekend and the voters’ roll has been closed.

IEC chair Glen Mashinini said at a meeting of the national party liaison commission (PLC) earlier on Monday there were different interpretations amongst political parties on whether the Constitutional Court order allows the commission to re-open nominations.

“There were parties that did not agree with the interpretation,” Mashinini said, adding that the commission has received legal advice on the matter and had followed due processes.

The CEO of the IEC Sy Mamabolo said the IEC’s online candidate nomination system was used during the local government elections in 2016 and the general elections in 2019 with “no difficulties” and so the commission does not believe it has “fundamental weaknesses” as it has been alleged.

Mamabolo said it would be premature of the IEC to comment on any court action any political party plans to take to oppose the re-opening of candidate nominations because at this stage it does not know the nature of that proposed court action and at which court it would be filed.

Mamabolo explained that the IEC had opted to approach the Constitutional Court to have the elections postponed rather than Parliament so that the Constitution could be amended to allow it to hold the elections at a later date because the relief it sought was not to extend the current term of municipal councils in perpetuity but was to deal with “a once in a lifetime crisis”.

Mamabolo added that it is not the IEC’s ” station to recommend” a constitutional amendment, “ours is to ensure we remain compliant and we remain in the parameters of the constitutional provisions”.

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