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By Itumeleng Mafisa

Digital Journalist

Maimane says IEC signature policy puts new parties at a disadvantage

Mmusi Maimane said despite setbacks on the election trail, he will continue to campaign for change in SA.

Despite meeting the requirements to be eligible to contest the upcoming general elections, Build One SA (Bosa) leader Mmusi Maimane had described the signature requirements by the IEC as being unfair on new parties.

Maimane announced on Thursday morning that his party had secured enough signatures to contest elections in all nine provinces and at a national level.

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Maimane bemoans ‘unjust hurdles’

He spoke to the media outside the IEC offices in Pretoria.

“Between the government, the IEC and the Constitutional Court, many unnecessary, and some unjust, hurdles have been placed in our path.

“One of the more unfair hurdles has been the signature requirements for new entrants. Previously, a new party needed only 1 000 signatures of support to qualify to contest elections. However, the new Electoral Amendment Act has radically hiked this number in a sinister effort to stymie competition and political choice,” Maimane said.

The IEC requires close to 50 000 signatures for new parties that want to contest in the national elections.

Parties only interested in their ‘own preservation’

He said the Electoral Amendment Act was passed in Parliament by parties that are only interested in their “own preservation”.

Maimane said there are parties that currently have seats in Parliament that would not be able to get the number of signatures required for new parties to contest the elections.

To make the system fair, he added, the bigger parties in South Africa such as the ANC, EFF and DA, should also have to produce signatures.

“If you say it’s just for the new [parties], you create the impression that says ‘old support is still [existing] support,” he said. He added that he thinks there are many South Africans that voted for established parties in the past that will decide to vote for a new party this year.

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Bosa gets 140 000 signatures

Maimane managed to obtain at least 140 000 signatures. He said this showed that South Africans had confidence in his new party.

“Over the past four weeks, our activists, candidates, and supporters have been to all corners of the country asking South Africans for a mandate to stand for election on 29 May. Today, we can announce we have received over 140 000 signatures submissions, more than double what is required by law. These signatures will be hand delivered to the IEC today, and qualifies Bosa to contest nationally and in all nine provinces,” he said.

Maimane said since the launch of the party’s candidate selection process, Bosa has received hundreds of applications from South Africans wanting to stand for election to public office.

“We can today announce that we have approved 120 candidates to stand for election under Bosa. This group has the right blend of skills, experience, diversity, and passion to serve the people of South Africa with aplomb in legislatures across the country,” he said.

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Maimane said his party had a strong compliment of volunteers that were campaigning in different parts of the country every day.

“We are pleased to report that Bosa is represented and fully structured in all nine provinces. In each, the provincial campaign coordinators lead hundreds of volunteers who campaign every day – door to door,” he said.