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Labour Party files court papers to postpone election date

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Labour Party files court papers to postpone election date

Elections
Photo by Reuters

19th April 2024

By: Sashnee Moodley
Senior Deputy Editor Polity and Multimedia

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The Labour Party wants the Constitutional Court to find in its favour to postpone the date of the upcoming elections to July or August, citing Electoral Court delays in its case to reopen the Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC’s) online portal.

The Labour Party’s application to reopen the IEC’s online portal, which the party argues was unstable during the uploading period, was dismissed on Monday. However, the Labour Party noted that two of the five Electoral Court judges agreed with the party's arguments.

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The Labour Party says the IEC’s online portal malfunctioned before the March 8, 17h00 deadline, resulting in many new parties being unable to upload the supporting documents required by the amended Electoral Act, which now requires new parties to upload up to 62 000 names, surnames, ID numbers and signatures of registered voters in order to contest the election.

The Labour Party argued that the Electoral Court “dragged the urgent application” to reopen the portal for over a month.

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“…which led to the Electoral Timetable’s milestones passing by, thus rendering the relief sought moot and academic. The Labour Party (and several other new political parties) therefore had no other viable choice than to approach the ConCourt for urgent relief,” the party explained.

Now the Labour Party wants the Constitutional Court to find its exclusion from the elections “inconsistent with the Constitution and unlawful” and for the President to postpone the elections.

“The paragraph that best describes the crux of the decision before the [Constitutional] Court, must be paragraph 64 of our [founding] affidavit. This paragraph crisply and succinctly summarises the prejudice faced by the Labour Party and many other parties as compared to the relatively small effect of postponing the elections. Let’s be frank, it would be better to have free and fair elections a few weeks later, than to have the elections on 29 May 2024, but the elections are not free and fair,” said Labour Party Secretariat Krister Janse van Rensburg.

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