The Constitutional Court (ConCourt) on Monday dismissed the Democratic Alliance’s (DA’s) urgent application challenging the Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC’s) decision to reopen the candidate nomination process.
The IEC reopened the submission of councillor candidates to contest the 1 November municipal elections after the ConCourt dismissed its application on 3 September to postpone the polls to February 2021.
The DA argued the IEC’s decision to reopen the submission of candidates was unconstitutional and unfairly benefited the ANC, which failed to submit candidates in more than 90 municipalities.
In its unanimous judgment on Monday, the ConCourt stated the IEC’s move to reopen candidate registrations was not unconstitutional, unlawful and invalid. The DA’s application for direct access was granted but the application was dismissed with no costs order.
The DA’s application was supported by the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the African Transformation Movement (ATM) and the South African Institute of Race Relations.
The IEC, ANC, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Freedom Under Law all opposed the DA’s application.
The IEC defended its decision to amend its election timetable, arguing that the DA’s application was “untenable in law and premature on facts”.
The commission also described the DA’s application as “an impermissible attempt” to have the ConCourt second-guess its decisions.
The IEC held its final voter registration drive at the weekend and parties have until Tuesday at 5pm to ensure they have registered their candidates.
Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe