Once bitten twice shy seems to be the drive for the ANC, which is believed to have beaten yesterday’s 5pm deadline to register its council candidates for the 1 November local government elections.
This as the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) stressed no party would be allowed another chance after the deadline. IEC spokesperson Kate Bapela was emphatic that when the deadline came, its system would shut off automatically and parties which had not submitted their candidates would be locked out.
But the ANC, which suffered dearly last time due to its failure to submit the names, appeared to be reluctant to be beaten twice.
An ANC member, who asked not to be named, said the ANC had submitted most of its candidate lists by yesterday afternoon.
“We hope by 5pm all names would be entered into the IEC system. That I’m confident about,” the member said.
The ruling party made headlines recently when it missed the 23 August initial deadline to submit its candidate lists to the IEC, which forced it to approach the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) to seek relief to be given a second chance to submit the names.
But it withdrew its application at the 11th-hour, sparking suspicion that the party might have been tipped off about the ConCourt judgment against the IEC application for the election to be postponed from 27 October to February next year.
The ConCourt has since ruled against postponing the polls and instead suggested the IEC hold them by 1 November and to conduct voter registrations.
The voter registrations opened a gap for parties with outstanding candidate lists to submit them. But the IEC’s move to reopen the candidate lists process was challenged by the Democratic Alliance (DA), with the support of the Economic Freedom Fighters.
The parties maintained the IEC deliberately reopened candidate registration merely for the sake of the ANC, something the IEC vehemently denied.
The IEC argued that because of voter registration, which was held during the past weekend, it automatically followed that the candidate registration process should be reopened to give an opportunity to the newly registered voters to exercise their right to participate in the election, if they so wished.
Indeed, this opened a second chance for the ANC and other parties like the United Democratic Movement, which also experienced technical glitches during the first candidate registration round.
The DA this week lost its challenge against the IEC when the ConCourt ruled that there was nothing unlawful with the reopening of the candidate registration process.
ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe yesterday could not confirm if the party had met the deadline, instead he said the party would call a media briefing today to address the issue.
Since the candidate nomination process, the ANC faced widespread dissatisfaction by its branch members who complained about exclusion of their candidate choices from the registered list.
The party promised to investigate all complaints and take disciplinary action against wrongdoers, including disqualifying fraudulently nominees, after the election.