The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) wrote to the Black First Land First (BLF) informing the party of “a number of submissions” it received objecting to its candidate lists.
According to the IEC, objections may be lodged against a candidate on the basis that they are not “qualified” to stand for elections, if they did not accept the nomination, or if they did not sign the IEC’s code of conduct.
Every citizen who is qualified to vote for the national assembly or provincial legislature is eligible to stand for election except for unrehabilitated insolvents and anyone considered incompetent to go to trial by the court. An unrehabilitated insolvent is a person who has been declared insolvent under a court order and who has not yet applied for and been granted a court order of rehabilitation.
Another condition on the IEC website reads: “Anyone who is convicted of an offence and sentenced to more than 12 months’ imprisonment without the option of a fine either in South Africa or outside the country if the offence would have been an offence if committed in South Africa. This disqualification ends five years after the sentence has been completed.”
Though the objectors were unknown at the moment, they were objecting to party leader Andile Mngxitama and its national spokesperson Lindsay Gerald Maasdorp on the grounds that their statements or conduct were viewed as inappropriate for people who may be voted to parliament on May 8.
Mngxitama is first on the BLF list, while Maasdorp is seventh.
“The submissions, in the main, consists of allegations against the aforementioned candidates in respect of conduct which incites violence towards white South Africans and that the BLF’s policies promote a system of exclusion based on race which is not in line with the desired goal of a unified and democratic society which SA seeks to build.”
In response, Mngxitama said his party could not fully respond to the objections without knowing who the objectors were. He, however, denied the “general” and “vague” allegations and asked for the objectors to raise specific allegations against the said candidates.
“We point out that BLF has subjected itself to the electoral process and signed the pledge of good conduct of the IEC. Furthermore, no court or even a chapter 9 institution has found against BLF in this regard. In all the instances where complaints of a similar nature have been made against BLF by often extreme racist and right-wing organisations, such claims have been rebutted by us,” said Mngxitama.
“The constitution and foundational values of BLF are for anti-racism by prioritising blacks as the victims of systemic racism by whites over the last 400 years. BLF has no desire nor intention to oppress anyone.”
The Freedom Front Plus has been clear about not wanting the BLF to contest the elections, claiming that the party failed to comply with the electoral code and for stating that only black people may join the party.
It launched an urgent application with the electoral court in Bloemfontein last week to nullify the BLF’s registration.
The party said in a statement: “In terms of Section 16 (1) (c) of the Electoral Commission Act (Act 51 of 1996), the IEC may not register a political party that excludes race, colour or ethnicity. The Constitution of the BLF states in Section 4 that only black people may be members of the party.
“South Africa’s Constitution states in Section 1 that the South African state is based on four core values, of which non-racialism is one. So it is clear that the IEC has made a big mistake. The FF Plus asks the court to rectify this error.”
In retaliation, Mngxitama accused the party of being “land thieves” and said they were terrified that the BLF was going to parliament.
The matter will be heard at the High Court in Johannesburg on Thursday.