ConCourt rules in favour of Electoral Commission in DA challenge

Isaac Mahlangu Senior reporter
The DA was challenging the IEC's decision to still allow political parties to register candidates for the upcoming local government elections.
The DA was challenging the IEC's decision to still allow political parties to register candidates for the upcoming local government elections.
Image: Alaister Russell

The Constitutional Court has dismissed Democratic Alliance's case in which the party sought to declare the decision of the Electoral Commission to re-open the candidate nomination process invalid and unconstitutional.

The judgment handed down on Monday will see the decision to re-open the candidate list stand as the DA had argued that it was done to favour the ruling party, the African National Congress.

The judgment is good news to the ANC and other political parties which had not been able to submit its list of candidates in all the wards to be contested in the November local government elections.

The Electoral Commission had on  September 6 decided re-open the candidate nomination process in the 2021 local government elections prompting the DA to apply for direct access to the apex court to challenge the decision.

The DA had argued that the commission’s decision to re-open the candidate nomination process was taken in order to give the ANC a chance to sort out its failure to submit lists and candidates in certain municipalities across the country.

The DA’s application was supported by IFP, EFF, African Transformation Movement and the South African Institute of Race Relations.

The commission successfully argued that the re-opening of the candidate nomination process was a necessary corollary to holding a voter registration weekend. It also argued that it was empowered in terms of section 11(2) of the Municipal Electoral Act 27 of 2000 to amend the election timetable. 

In a unanimous judgment decided without an oral hearing by the court, it stated that the proper approach to interpretation involves a unitary exercise in which a court seeks to ascertain the meaning of a provision in light of the document as a whole and in context of admissible background evidence.

The DA application was dismissed with no order on costs made.

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