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Freedom Under Law: IEC Decision to Re-Open Candidate Registrations Lawful

Sep 21, 2021

By Naadiya Adams

The ANC has until 5 pm on Tuesday to submit their candidates’ list to the Independent Electoral Commission, and rumour has it, they have already beat the deadline.

This follows a Constitutional Court ruling against the Democratic Alliance’s application that argued that the IEC decision to reopen the candidate nomination process in the 2021 local government elections was unconstitutional, unlawful and invalid and that it be set aside.

The apex court found the decision was well within the law and the IEC is well within its rights to re-open the candidate registration.

Freedom Under Law submitted a request to join the case as amicus curiae or friend of the court in the matter and they have been privy to court proceedings since the onset of the case, CEO Nicole Fritz says they believe the IEC decision is fair.

“The DA’s application, where it asked the court to set aside the decision of the electoral commission to open voter registration …. We then came in and our submissions lined up with the electoral commission saying that given the structure of our electoral laws; it is that a candidate registration can only itself be finalised once the voter’s roll has been closed,” explains Fritz.

Fritz explains that while the initial reasoning for the ANC, IEC and Freedom Under Law to approach the court at the onset was not upheld, the outcome remains what they were hoping to achieve.

“The power of the electoral commission to open candidate registration, was not a power that flowed from the court order in the main application but that the electoral commission did have the power to extend or re-open candidate registration flowing from its own powers in terms of the electoral management act,” said Fritz.

Fritz says that even though the ANC disproportionately benefits from the decision by the IEC, it does not deem the decision unlawful in any way.

She also says that the DA’s action to consider the IEC, a constitutional body, as unconstitutional simply for their own political ends without any real evidence is irresponsible and undermines the highest court in the land.

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