Parties not on ballot paper have to amend their registrations: IEC

An election official hands a ballot paper to a voter during SA’s general elections in 2014 SABC News

Independent Electoral Commission Deputy Chief Executive Officer Mawethu Mosery says parties whose names are not on the 1 November local government election ballot paper are required to return to the Commission and amend their registration papers by adding their abbreviated name.

The abbreviated names of 15 political parties, including ActionSA, do not appear on the ballot paper as they did not register themselves using an abbreviation or acronym.

The IEC allows parties to register abbreviations of up to eight characters. Mosery maintains that acceding to a request by these parties to now include them on the ballot would be unfair.

“That would be tantamount to favouring a political party at this stage in the same way as, let us take your identity document, if it comes back missing one of your names, you don’t go around putting that name, you actually go back to the population register and say please put my name back and you have a process to put that name back onto your identity document. In the same way, the identifier of a party is not on the register, therefore, they cannot use it as an identifier in the case of the ballot paper.”

The parties are aggrieved as an abbreviated name is recognised as an important way in which voters identify the political party they wish to vote for. The Change Party is one of the 15 political parties whose name does not appear on the 1 November ballot paper.

Parties concerned about the effect of this on the number of voters they will receive

While leader, Lesiba Molokomme concedes that they did not register an abbreviation for the party, he blames the IEC for not insisting it do so.

“If the IEC is using the acronyms on the ballot papers and they know that the acronyms serve as a big advantage for the political parties in order to allow the voters not to be confused but to clearly recognise their loved parties, they should have made it compulsory. From the beginning, the IEC had the power to reject or to approve the registration if it did not meet the requirements they have requested. Given this and hearing the IEC saying that they have already printed, we have no option but to take the legal action against the IEC.”

ActionSA, led by Herman Mashaba, says that the IEC should reconsider its decision to omit its name from the ballot in the spirit of ensuring free and fair elections. They will hold a briefing on Wednesday on what steps it is taking to, as it says, get the IEC to act in good faith.


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