IEC tries to overrule Constitutional Court – IRR

7 September 2021 - Contrary to explicit direction from the Constitutional Court, the Electoral Commission (IEC) has said it will try to reopen candidate nominations for the local government elections.

Contrary to explicit direction from the Constitutional Court, the Electoral Commission (IEC) has said it will try to reopen candidate nominations for the local government elections.

This will grant the ANC its wish to place candidates on lists that it previously failed to complete before the deadline.

Glen Mashinini, Chairperson of the IEC, explained that this was done because “the scheme of the Municipal Electoral Act is that the voter registration deadline is intended to precede the candidate nomination deadline”.

This is a legalistic interpretation of how the Municipal Electoral Act should be read in the context of this election cycle. But the matter of how to actually interpret the Act on this point has already been settled by the Constitutional Court.

The ConCourt was asked by the EFF to lift the ban on political gatherings and to extend the deadline for candidate nominations. The court dismissed both appeals.

The court was aware of the Municipal Electoral Act, aware in particular that in the usual course of things compliance means closing voter registration first and candidate nominations second. But in this case the court ordered that voter registration be reopened while dismissing the appeal to reopen candidate nominations.

So on the court’s order in this matter candidate nominations close first and voter registration close thereafter, unusual but necessarily constitutional.

Yet the IEC has overruled this as if the ConCourt had never read the relevant law, and the IEC knows better. The IEC is effectively asking the public to believe that the ConCourt gave its order without realising that this went against the usual order of things as envisaged by the Municipal Electoral Act and that the IEC has intervened to interpret the law where the court failed.

President Ramaphosa made the same affront to the ConCourt when he said he welcomed the IEC’s decision to reopen candidate nominations because “Section 19 (3)” of the Constitution required nominations to close after registration, even though the court is not only aware of that section, as the guardian of the Bill of Rights, but had had that section quoted to it in this case by the ANC.

Again, if what Ramaphosa calls the “inextricable link” in Section 19 (3), between the right to vote and the right to run for office, meant that candidate nominations must always close after voter registration then the court would not have issued an order in which that order of things is reversed. 

If the IEC or its leader had said that some novel fact, which came to light only after the court heard the case, had caused the IEC to deem reopening candidate nominations “reasonably necessary”, then it would be another matter. But for the IEC to use abstract legal arguments to say there must be one order when the ConCourt has given the opposite order, is an affront to justice and hands a get-out-of-jail card to the ANC.

The IEC has insulted the court doubly, possibly lying to it. The IEC opposed the EFF’s request to delay candidate nominations, saying this would create a practical “impossibility” since the IEC would never be able use a later candidate nomination date and get the elections concluded by November 1. Glen Mashinini swore to this in an affidavit signed on August 18, but by September 6, when the ANC was in deep trouble, he went in the exact opposite direction.

Said IRR head of campaigns Gabriel Crouse: “This is not the first democratic travesty the IEC has pulled off in broad daylight. The original ‘proclamation’ on August 3 was an illegal act of voter suppression, disenfranchising thousands of South Africans, which was announced alongside another fake legal reason. Cogta Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said that she had to disenfranchise people to allow the IEC to go to court, but court papers show the IEC had already told her on August 1 that this was not true and that she had agreed.

“When Dlamini-Zuma lied to the public, did the IEC correct her? No. It does her, and her party’s bidding, rather than serve the people honestly. Now the IEC has used Dlamini-Zuma’s tactic of distracting people from a coup de main against democracy with legalistic nonsense.”

How Minister Dlamini-Zuma lied to the public is described here:
https://dailyfriend.co.za/2021/08/28/dlamini-zuma-caught-in-truth-trap-at-the-concourt/ 

 
Media contact: Gabriel Crouse, IRR Head of Campaigns – 082 510 0360; gabriel@irr.org.za
Media enquiries: Michael Morris Tel: 066 302 1968 Email: michael@irr.org.za
Kelebogile Leepile Tel: 079 051 0073 Email: kelebogile@irr.org.za
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