ConCourt rules against DA, saying the IEC reopening candidates list was lawful

The Constitutional Court dismissed the Democratic Alliance's application on Monday.

FILE: Two ballot boxes sit in the Pinelands Primary voting station as South Africans cast their votes on 8 May 2019. Picture: Bertram Malgas/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Democratic Alliance (DA) has lost its Constitutional Court challenge of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) decision to reopen the councillor candidate registration process ahead of the local government elections.

The commission reopened registrations after the apex court ordered the municipal polls must go ahead this year.

The DA had argued the move is unlawful as it unfairly benefits the African National Congress (ANC), which missed the initial 23 August deadline.

The apex court made the decision on Monday morning, stating that the reopening of the candidate list was lawful.

This issue has been at the heart of battles between political parties and the IEC - with most opposition parties accusing the commission of opening the candidate list to assist the ANC.

Political parties will now have until 5 pm on Tuesday to register candidates.


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The Constitutional Court judgment in full:

[Judgment] Democratic Alliance in Re Electoral Commission v M... by Primedia Broadcasting on Scribd

The commission argued that the DA was second guessing it and implying that it had no ability to carry out its constitutional mandate to deliver these elections. The ANC also wanted the DA’s case dismissed.

After the Constitutional Court finally released the judgment for the 3 September order over the weekend, the highest court in the land said its order did not instruct nor prohibit the IEC from amending other items on the timetable provided that elections can take place by 1 November.

The provision included in the order is that it must be reasonably necessary.

Legal experts differed on interpretation of the judgment and on whether it was reasonable for the commission to set a new date for candidates lists.

The IEC argued that holding a registration drive meant they had to set a new deadline for the lists while the main opposition has argued that the only amendments permitted following the recent ConCourt order is for the voters’ registration to take place.

The ANC stood to lose the most if the DA won the case, as it failed to submit full candidate list in more than 20 municipalities.

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