ANC explains U-turn on legal bid to register poll candidates

In a short statement released on Wednesday morning, it insisted that as the largest party in the country, it had the responsibility to protect, strengthen and deepen South Africa’s democracy.

FILE: Chief Albert Luthuli House, the ANC's headquarters in Johannesburg. Picture: Pelane Phakgadi/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - After making a U-turn on its court bid to force the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to extend its deadline for the registration of candidates, the African National Congress (ANC) is now defending its initial decision.

In a short statement released on Wednesday morning, it insisted that as the largest party in the country, it had the responsibility to protect, strengthen and deepen South Africa’s democracy.

It also insisted that other parties suffered due to technical glitches when trying to register names of candidates they wanted to field for the upcoming local government elections. The United Democratic Movement (UDM) was the only party that had expressed similar concerns to the ANC.

The governing party has since abandoned the bid, opting to wait for the Constitutional Court to rule on when elections will be held instead.

In a case where it almost looked like the ANC was working backward, the party said that it would await the apex court's decision on whether to postpone the elections. This move, if successful, will force the country into a new election cycle, with new processes and deadlines for parties to adhere to.

In explaining the Electoral Court bid, which was launched and abandoned within 24 hours, the ANC said that it had a duty to protect the rights of hundreds of thousands who would have been deprived of the right to vote for the candidates of their choice. It continued to insist that it was not their own challenges, such as the staffers on a go-slow, adjusting to a new membership system or simply leaving this task unattended for far too long, that led to the ANC missing the IEC deadline.

The Constitutional Court has yet to deliver judgment on the IEC application to postpone the local polls to February next year.

A breakdown of the ANC's registered candidates:

In the Eastern Cape 703 out of 710 wards registered successfully. In the North West 361 of 403 municipalities registered, in the Northern Cape 220 of 232 municipalities registered with 25 of the 33 candidates registered in the Sol Plaatje Local Municipality.

In the Western Cape, none of its proportional representative (PR) councillors was registered.

Free State:
19 out of 35 registered - Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipality;
19 out of 36 registered - Matjhabeng Local Municipality;
12 out of 20 registered - Dihlabeng local municipality;
16 out of 22 registered - Moqkaka local municipality
16 out of 20 registered - Ngwathe local municipality

Gauteng:
22 out of 28 registered - Marafong City (no PR councillor registered )
98 out of 112 registered - eKurhuleni
95 out of 107 registered - Tshwane
12 out of 15 registered -Midvaal
129 out of 135 registered -Johannesburg

Mpumalanga:
20 out of 29 registered - Steve Tshwete local municipality
29 out of 45 registered - City of Mbombela
29 out of 33 registered - Nkomazi local municipality
29 out of 32 registered - Govan Mbeki local municipality

In Limpopo, the ANC failed to register PR candidates in nine municipalities including Ephraim Mogale; Bela Bela, Mogalakwena; Lephalale; Makhuduthamaga; Fetagomo Tubatse; Elias Motsoaledi; Sikhukhune local municipalities.

13 out of 31 registered - Greater Giyani
15 out of 30 registered - Greater Letaba
16 out of 36 registered - Greater Tzaneen
11 out of 19 registered - Ba-phalaborwa
7 out of 17 registered - Ephraim Mogale

In KwaZulu-Natal, the ANC failed to register PR councillors in all but three municipalities including Nqutu in Umzinyathi District Municipality; KwaDukuza and Ndwedwe Local Municipality.

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