Dagga Party may or may not be on the ballot, says Jeremy Acton

The party raised the money to register but aren't sure if they paid it across to the IEC in time.

Jeremy Acton of Iqela Lentsango: The Dagga Party of South Africa, said he didn’t know whether he was on the ballot for the 2019 elections at this point.

Acton related an almost farcical comedy of errors regarding his party’s attempts to register on the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) website, which possibly doesn’t do much to dispel stereotypes about the organisational skills of cannabis users. He was, however, refreshingly honest for a politician.

“We raised the money, and had to go to Capitech to change the limit on our account to R200,000, but were only able to change it to R100,000. In the end we had to scramble to get someone else to deposit the remaining R100,000,” he said.

“The IEC has a portal for swiping your card, but we couldn’t find simple EFT details,” he continued.

READ MORE: Dagga announcement sets Twitter ablaze

“So at 2pm we found ourselves sitting trying to sort out the problem.

“We managed to get someone else to pay the 100,000 rand and we’re not sure if it went through before or after the cutoff.”

Giving up on the complicated IEC portal, Acton “emailed the proof of payment and candidates list at 5.20pm,” exactly an hour after what marijuana enthusiasts may have considered the perfect time for the Dagga Party to register.

Now, Acton is waiting to hear whether or not he’s made the cut.

“In terms of their stringent cutoff of the IEC I don’t think we’re on the ballot,” he admitted.

Both a report in The Mail & Guardian and on Fields of Green For All, the website of prominent South African cannabis activists Jules Stobbs and Myrtle Clarke – better known as the Dagga Couple – appear to have jumped the gun.

The Mail & Guardian did accurately report that while the party had raised the money, they hadn’t yet transferred it across to the IEC, in a story titled “Dagga Party credits grassroots support to get on ballot” which uses its subject matter to make an impressive amount of weed-related puns.

Fields of Green For All, meanwhile, wrote that the party had already made the ballot.

READ MORE: Dagga milestone largely welcomed, ‘but there are risks’

“In a monumental last-minute national effort of raffles, prizes and incentives, The Dagga Party of South Africa beat the deadline to raise the R200,000 deposit to the Independent Election Committee (IEC) to have their logo on the national ballot for this May’s General Elections,” the website reported.

“In a rare display of cohesion and ‘One Love’, the South African Cannabis Community donated small amounts en masse in a 72-hour show of solidarity for Jeremy Acton and the work he has done for all of us in the courts of South Africa,” the report continued.

“Twelve hours is a long time in politics,” said Stobbs when called for clarification, adding that he thought the party’s successful registration was a done deal at the time.

He said he believed there was a “50-50 chance” of the party making the ballot at this point, adding that when he spoke to Acton he “didn’t sound upbeat”.

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