Ethekwini mayoral candidate Makhosi Khoza (left) with Action SA president Herman Mashaba during the media briefing in Durban. The party had taken the IEC to the Electoral Court over the exclusion of its full name on the ballot paper. Bongani Mbatha : African News Agency /ANA
Ethekwini mayoral candidate Makhosi Khoza (left) with Action SA president Herman Mashaba during the media briefing in Durban. The party had taken the IEC to the Electoral Court over the exclusion of its full name on the ballot paper. Bongani Mbatha : African News Agency /ANA

ActionSA drags IEC to electoral court over its demand for its full name on ballot paper

By Baldwin Ndaba Time of article published Oct 21, 2021

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ACTIONSA demands that the Electoral Court force the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) to include its full name in the ballot paper or postpone the elections next month.

This is contained in an urgent application before the full bench of the Electoral Court sitting at the Joburg’s High Court Division.

ActionSA lodged the application after its name was omitted in the draft ballot paper produced by the IEC on October 2.

In support of its decision, the IEC argued that ActionSA failed to provide it with the abbreviation of its party’s name - a view which irked the leadership of ActionSA.

ActionSA, through its national chairperson Michael Beaumont, lodged the court application after failed attempts to persuade the IEC to include the full name ActionSA into the spot allocated for the abbreviation of political parties contesting elections.

Beaumont told the full bench led by Judge Boycie Bam that there were no regulations in the application forms that all the parties were required to submit the abbreviation of the party’s names in the ballot paper.

Counsel for ActionSA, advocate Adilla Hassim SC, argued that her client became aware of the omission of the party’s name in the ballot paper on October 2 and said the party wrote to the IEC’s deputy chief executive of electoral operations, Masego Sheburi, and notified him about the omission.

According to Hassim, the IEC was not helpful, which prompted the party to lodge the court application on an urgent basis on October 5.

ActionSA was adamant that there was nothing in the regulations which required it to submit an abbreviation of its party’s name in the IEC’s application papers.

“The most natural place to advise political parties of the consequences of not choosing an abbreviated version of its name would have been on that form. On the commission’s version, the consequence of not selecting an abbreviated name is that only the ActionSA logo would appear on the ward paper, and not its name.

“This information does not appear anywhere on the registration form.

“Advising political parties of the consequences of not selecting an abbreviated name would be the very thesis of the commission’s mandate and powers. That is, it would ensure a free and fair election and promote conditions conducive to free and fair elections. Excluding a part of a party’s identification without forewarning is the antithesis of that,” Beaumont argued in his affidavit.

He was adamant that the IEC could have used the party’s name, comprising eight letters, as an abbreviation.

But the IEC did not want to back down, arguing that parties in a similar situation, such as the Good Party, had also included an abbreviation in their application.

In his replying affidavit, IEC chief executive Sy Mamabolo said: “ActionSA does not have a registered abbreviated name or acronym. The reason why ActionSA does not have a registered abbreviated name had nothing to do with the commission.

“This is a choice which was made freely and with full appreciation of the consequences by ActionSA itself.

“The simple fact is that, had ActionSA given the commission its abbreviated name, it would have been included in the ballot paper,” Mamabolo said.

He said ActionSA’s court application should be dismissed, saying it was an abuse and there were only a few weeks left before the elections.

Judgment was reserved.

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Political Bureau

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