IEC Fails to Remedy Ballot Paper Omission – ActionSA to Head to Court

ActionSA confirms that the 10am deadline for the IEC to remedy the absence of ActionSA’s name from the ballot papers came and went without a response from the Commission.

As such, and as per our communication to the Commission, ActionSA will now presume the Commission has no intention to remedy the matter.

In this regard ActionSA has concluded a meeting with our legal team, who are bewildered by the Commission’s refusal to remedy this issue. They have affirmed our position that there is no legal basis for the Commission to refuse this request and are confident the courts will share this perspective. The perspective is that, by refusing to remedy this issue, the IEC is in breach of its overarching responsibilities to ensure free and fair elections – a critical component of which is ensuring voters are able to identify their political parties in various ways that include the party logo, party name, acronym and party leaders. 

It is deeply ironic that it was this very responsibility which lay at the heart of the Commission’s refusal to register ActionSA. At the time, the Commission cited a study by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) which found that names and abbreviated names are the most important party identifiers on the ballot paper. How the Commission can hold this view when denying our registration and disregard it when denying our present request, defies all logic.

There is no provision in law which limits or empowers the IEC to rely solely on a party’s registration documentation for the construction of ballot papers – our law remains silent on what information goes into a ballot paper. In the absence of such provisions of legislation, the IEC must act in the interests of free and fair elections and administrative justice. As a matter of fact, ward candidate names are submitted by political parties in local government elections and the faces of party leaders in national and provincial elections – neither of which has anything to do with registration documentation.

ActionSA is concerned by the approach of the IEC and what seems like an effort to validate a decision to not assist in remedying this matter which directly relates to voters being able to locate their political party of choice.

In electing to pursue a legal course of action, ActionSA’s Senate has expressed reservations about what appears to be a continue pattern of decisions made against the interests of ActionSA and its supporters.

Our brief time as a political party has been beset by issues with the IEC. We have been refused to register as a party and we have been ignored in our concerns about the Multi-Party Democracy Fund that the IEC openly advocates for people to exclusively fund political parties established in Parliament. The exclusion of our candidates from the candidate list published this week has been solved but not publicised and we must endure an arbitrary refusal to reflect ActionSA equally on the ballot papers.

ActionSA’s legal team will immediately begin drafting papers on an urgent basis, and a press conference will be held on Wednesday morning to brief the media.