IEC: ActionSA sought to be treated differently over name on ballot

The commission told the Electoral Court that it would be overseeing an unfair election if it were to review its decision to leave out ActionSA’s name after it failed to submit an abbreviated name as required for the ballot paper.

ActionSA president, Herman Mashaba, at the launch of the party's 2021 local government elections campaign on 9 September 2021. Picture: @Action4SA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said that ActionSA sought to be treated differently to other political parties when it demanded to have its full name registered on the ward ballot paper after failing to do so when it was given the chance.

The commission told the Electoral Court that it would be overseeing an unfair election if it were to review its decision to leave out ActionSA’s name after it failed to submit an abbreviated name as required for the ballot paper.

Calling on the Electoral Court to dismiss ActionSA’s application to find that its decision was unlawful, the IEC proposed a possible remedy to the dispute.

Advocate Michael Bishop, for the IEC, said that given the time constraints and the impossibility of inserting ActionSA’s name on the ballot at this juncture in the electoral process, it would be ideal if the party took the matter to court after the elections.

"Because it is exactly when you give the Electoral Commission discretionary judgement in whether to accept late application, whether to change names on the ballot, that you create the risk that the commission is seen as biased and impartial."

But ActionSA said that there would be great difficulty establishing whether ActionSA was unfairly prejudiced by the omission of its name from the ballot paper.

Lawyer for ActionSA, Advocate Adila Hassim: "It's not an answer to say 'to remedy the violation, ActionSA, come back again after the elections'. They've not provided an answer as to how we are to determine whether the voter has understood whether ActionSA was on the ballot or not."

Judgment was reserved, with the judges saying that if need be, an order would be issued as quickly as possible with reasons to follow later.

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