Constitutional Hill

Why EFF election challenge will not fly

This week the North Gauteng High Court dismissed an urgent application by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) to remove (or greatly reduce) the requirement for political parties to pay a sizeable deposit before they could contest the election. This requirement limits the number of political parties who are entitled to contest the election and thus potentially limits the right of individuals to vote for the party of their choice. Constitutionally the question is whether such a limitation is justifiable or not.

There are currently more than 200 political parties registered on the Independent Electoral Commission’s database. Many of these registered political parties are not credible entities, have little political support and have absolutely no chance of gaining seats in the National Assembly. It would make elections almost impossible to administer if all these parties were allowed to take part in the election.

In the previous national election only 26 of the parties contested the election. This is partly due to the fact that the Electoral Act at the time required a political party to pay a deposit of R180,000 to appear on the national ballot paper and R40,000 to appear on the ballot paper for the election to a provincial legislature. (This has now been raised to R200, 000 and R45,000 respectively.)

In 2009, only half of the parties on the ballot paper obtained any seats in the National Assembly (NA). Nine of the parties whose names appeared on the national ballot paper (and had thus been able to pay the R180,000 deposit) could not even muster 10,000 votes. Thirteen of the parties lost their deposits while the other thirteen parties had their deposits refunded in terms of section 106 of the Electoral Act, because they had obtained at least one seat in the legislature.

The right to vote is guaranteed in section 19 of the Constitution. In August and Another v Electoral Commission and Others the Constitutional Court emphasised the importance of the right to vote – especially in the South African context in which the vast majority of citizens were denied the right to vote until 1994. In that judgment, Sachs J remarked that:

the universality of the franchise is important not only for nationhood and democracy. The vote of each and every citizen is a badge of dignity and of personhood. Quite literally, it says that everybody counts.

The court remarked that given our history, it would carefully scrutinise any law that placed limitations on the exercise of the right to vote and that such limitations should not be easily countenanced.

It is important to remember that in South Africa at national and provincial level only political parties can contest elections. Political parties – and not individual voters nor individual candidates representing a political party – are required to pay a deposit to contest an election. The fact that some or many of the supporters of a political party may be poor, is therefore not directly relevant when deciding whether the deposit requirement limits the right to vote.

(The situation would have been dramatically different if individual candidates had been required to pay deposits before they could stand in elections as this would have had a clear and obviously unconstitutional discriminatory effect on poor potential candidates for elected office who often would not have been able to pay the requisite deposit.)

In national and provincial elections in South Africa, the question is whether the deposit requirement will preclude a political party with any electoral support from contesting an election. For example, if the deposit requirement had in fact prevented the EFF from registering for the election because the EFF did not have the funds to pay the various deposits, this would have constituted a catastrophic infringement on the right to vote of a sizeable section of the electorate.

I am almost certain that if the deposit had been set so high that a credible party such as the EFF had been unable to afford the deposits, it would have constituted an unconstitutional limitation on the right to vote. This is because a legal provision that in fact disbars a credible political party form taking part in the election would almost certainly be unconstitutional.

That was not the case with the EFF. Nor was it ever likely to be the case. This is so because it is difficult to imagine that any credible political party in South Africa with a good chance of gaining several seats in the NA would not be able to afford to pay the (refundable) deposit required by the Act.

Even smaller political parties require substantial funds to run election campaigns. While large parties like the ANC may spend more than R100 million on the election campaign, even insurgent parties like the EFF will have to spend several million Rand on an election campaign to stand a chance of receiving a sizeable portion of the vote.

Arguably, the more funds a political party has at its disposal, the more effective the campaign it can run. This place new entrants to the political scene at a disadvantage because they do not qualify for election funding as they do not have any seats in the legislature. Moreover, if a party emerges in South Africa one day that is unable to attract any private funding (because of their pro-poor policies or because of their perceived incorruptibility), that party will also be at a distinct disadvantage to compete fairly in the election.

But it is unlikely that even such a party of principle with substantial support will be so cash-strapped that it will ever be unable to pay the refundable deposit to allow it to contest the election.

Nevertheless, this does not mean that the deposit requirement does not limit the right to vote as it is conceivable – if unlikely – that a political party who could garner enough support to gain at least one seat in the NA may not be able to pay the required deposits.

As the deposit requirement limits the right to vote (although the extent of the limitation may be less dramatic than it would at first appear) the question then arises whether this limitation would be justifiable in terms of the limitation clause found in section 36 of the Constitution.

In terms of section 36, we have to look at the purpose of the law that imposes a limit on the right, ask what interests are being served by the limitation and how important these interests are. We then have to look at the interest of those whose right is being limited and ask how severe the limitation on their rights might be. We must then balance these interests against one another by asking whether the limitation could be viewed as reasonable and justifiable in an open and democratic society based on dignity, equality and freedom.

The deposit requirement clearly serves an important purpose. It provides an easy to administer and difficult to manipulate procedure to ensure that there are not too many frivolous and unserious political parties on the ballot paper. It also provides absolute legal certainty to political parties about whether they qualify to be on the ballot paper.

In the absence of such a measure the ballot paper may well be several metres long, making the process of voting more cumbersome and slow and potentially disadvantaging illiterate voters who may have to ask for assistance to find the party of their choice on the paper (thus ensuring that their vote would not be secret). Such a ballot paper containing the details of more than 200 parties would also be very difficult to count and would greatly increase the time needed to count the vote. It would also increase the possibility of mistakes being made during the counting process.

There are, of course, other mechanisms available to ensure that only the names of credible parties appear on the ballot. The law could, for example, require each political party to submit a list of names of registered voters (anything from 10,000 to 50,000 names have been mentioned by the EFF) to demonstrate support for the party.

However, this mechanism is administratively onerous and time-consuming as each name will have to be checked by IEC officials to ensure its authenticity and to prevent fraud. This mechanism also provides for far less legal certainty and is therefore more open to manipulation. For example, a rogue IEC official may apply an overly formalistic standard when verifying all the names on the list with the aim of disqualifying many of the names to prevent the political party from qualifying to take part in the election.

Given the advantages of the deposit system, given the fact that it is not likely to prevent any credible political party from competing in an elections, and given the disadvantages of other systems that could be used to prevent frivolous parties from contesting the election, I suspect that the court would almost certainly find that if the system indeed presents a limitation on the right to vote, that this limitation is justifiable in terms of the limitations clause in the Bill of Rights.

Of course, I have no idea on what basis the IEC set the deposits at the rates it did. It might be that a lower deposit would have been equally effective. But because of separation of powers concerns (in the absence of incontestable data) I doubt very much whether any court would intervene and would replace its own view of what a reasonable deposit amount is – unless the deposit were so high that it would indeed have the effect of disqualifying one or more credible parties with a real chance of obtaining seats in the NA.

PS: The High Court did not decide the EFF case on these principles. Intstead it decided that the matter was not urgent, presumably because the deposit requirement had been in place for many years.

  • LQMalepa(14196418)

    The High courts decision to let the deposit requirement to apply for the national and provincial ballot remain the same is correct. If the EFF considers itself to be a strong and potentially successful party in the upcoming elections , it should be able to raise R 245 000 to register to be on the national and provincial ballot for the upcoming elections.

  • Choolwe Nsanzya

    Post by Choolwe Nsanzya (14253382)

    A shocking statistic states that less than a quarter of South Africa’s so-called “born frees” have registered to vote in the upcoming elections. Carien Du Plessis(2014). Nonetheless, political parties new and old are springing up and targeting this group who will be voting for the first time. One such party is the EFF-a youth dominated movement-whose main objective is to win the votes of those born post-apartheid. They might be successful in doing this, but to do this they must first comply with certain prerequisites, which they clearly oppose. Should they be exempt?

    The IEC is tasked with an incredibly monstrous duty to administer the elections and voting process efficiently and professionally. since there are over 200 registered political parties it would only make sense to inflict certain hindrances. The issue of unconstitutionality is a simple one. This is because political parties have certain characteristics that would discrimination almost impossible. Firstly, any political party who is not precarious and is serious enough to partake in a running to one day run a country will surely be financially capable of handling funds involved with contesting.No party or its individual members can be discriminated against in this case. As mentioned by de Vos, viable political parties such as the EFF would anyway have to fork out large sums for manifesto’s, crusades, campaigns and so forth. To bring in questions of constitutionality is thus ludicrous.

  • Andreas Meyer

    They got the money, they wanted publicity.

  • Irene Mbuyisa

    EFF is the upcoming or emerging party can not have enough funds to pay for registration and still have enough money to have an effective campaign like ANC does. The government being the ANC uses this
    deposit to oppressed new parties, because they know that through campaign EFF can obtain more votes. ANC has been ruling for 20 years since 1994 and now they lost the direction and they are fighting amongst themselves. I believe now it is about time they give other parties a chance to develop the country further.

  • LQMalepa(14196418)

    You are definitely right. EFF is just looking for some pre-election hype .

  • Tshegofatso Mogale(14194059)

    I could not agree any more with the fact that EFF is just trying to attract unnecessary attention to itself before elections.If the EFF wants to compete with the big guys then it must be able to pay up like the big guys.I think that the EFF’s argument only serves to portray its incompetence as a party,if the EFF feels that it cannot raise the necessarry funds to compete in elections and in so doing meet the necessary prerequisites, then it should wait for such a time as when it will be able to meet the prerequisites.Otherwise, it is like asking for the standards to be lowered just because you dont meet them where as in actual fact you should be working on yourself to make sure that you meet those standards.

  • Gerrie

    The government does not decide on the deposit, it is decided on by the I.E.C, which is an independent committee. In my opinion R245 000 is a fractional amount of an effective electoral campaign. As stated in the blog, the ANC’s campaign likely costs more than R100 million. If the EFF wants be competetive, R245 000 shouldn’t be a problem.

  • KetseLU (11114691)

    It is argued by some that the EFF is just trying to build up election hype but I feel that they are well in their place since they are the infamous ‘Economic Freedom Fighters’. Whether or not they have the funds to be on the ballot paper is not what is in question, but rather the fact that poorer parties are disregarded solely based on their financial status or lack thereof. This to me seems as though the rights of the voters are not entirely being protected. For example, if I were to start my own party and fail to raise the necessary funds, the voters right to vote for me is infringed upon solely based on financial status. It is sad that the High Court felt that this wasn’t an urgent matter and the justification therefore seems lazy and quite disturbing as this seems to be a pressing matter to me. I feel that we are holding on to a system that is indirectly discriminating against poor people instead of looking into a system which will deal with the credibility of the party as well as the number of members it has. A new system which isn’t lazy and which is solely in the best interest of its voters. The mention above on how time consuming counting votes of 200 parties is and how inaccurate it may all be just emphasizes how this system is lazy. I feel that the EFF has made valid points and should therefore be heard.

  • Veritas Maq (14099072)

    On agreeing with “KetseLU”: Our system is not serving the people of this country effectively. The people don’t need a rich party but they need a party of their own choice, which they believe can serve them and address their concerns to the best of its ability. The rate at which EFF is growing is so rapid, this alone shows the dissatisfaction of multitudes who were in parties that existed long before the EFF was founded. With this borne in mind, every party must be given a fair platform to compete in the elections, attaching a ridiculous amount to the registrations thereof will prevent some parties from enjoying such benefit. The question one might ask is, during the first democratic elections in 1994, was the registration fee or deposit equivalent to what it is now?? or, a system has been adopted that the amount must be increased everytime there is elections, and it’s evident that there exist parties that can overthrow the ANC?
    In closing: Let this country open it’s eyes, accept change that will soon follow and stop hanging on a sinking ship (protecting a party that is an has been failing decimally for 2 decades)…..Kapish

  • natala petrus 14196078

    It is high time that a ruling party realize that people of South africa are politically inclined,they are not dealing with illiterates,they should learn to organise themselves and stop entertaining politics of stomachs,that lead them to respond negetively to critics and resentmets,Growing membership of EFF is an evidence to that,they need people who will communicate sense to society,charging an exorbitatant amount in the deposit system will never prevent parties such as EFF from competing elections.There are many private funders who willingly would like to fund EFF,some of them are from the very same ruling party because of its inconsistence when coming to membership,elections not about wealth but change,people are looking for party that would be able to respond to their needs.they are not looking at the party that promotes a lavish lifestyle to its executive,party that protects its corrupt leaders

  • LQMalepa(14196418)

    You are definetely right Tshegofatso Mogale . The fact that there are certian standards to be met ,regarding having to be able to take part in the upcoming elections, is an indication of how serious and potentially hardworking political parties should be in order to take part in elections. The fact that you also say that political parties that do not meet certian requirements should wait until they meet those requirements is definely correct as it will give the political party enough time to develop themselves to reach and even surpass the specific requirements requred by the IEC.

  • Mapheto Raisibe(u14033888)

    I believe that EFF just wanted publicity,but if it claims that the deposit is high and will be unable to pay it and run a successful campaign like ANC should we not fear that if EFF came into power it will misuse the state money, because at the moment the EFF president is facing tax charges,can we really trust him to use the states’ funds effectively if he becomes president, i however agree with LQMalapa because if EFF wants to be one of the big parties it must be able to raise this funds and stop complaining because it seems that is what it is good at

  • Mashala Karabo(14336783)

    it is so obvious that a corrupt political party is the ANC not the EFF
    during the time when malema was a Youth League President of the ANC he
    was not facing those charges.. but immediately after he was expelled in
    the party he started to face some big amount tax bills where were the
    bills while he was in the ANC??????????

  • Prince Kurt

    we seem to forget that the EFF is a relatively new party unlike the ANC hence in terms of financial stability it would be unfair to compare the two

  • Prince Kurt

    13187270: perhaps having 200 political parties could
    be straneous, whilst having to pay the deposit eliminates parties that appear
    not to be serious or rather credible; however question then is what the
    criteria for a credible political party is. are we to assume it is experience
    (long-term existence) or simply scrutinize with the naked eye so as to presume
    credibility? the limitation that the deposit poses could be justifiable as
    ultimately if the number of political parties is to be limited based on their
    ability to pay the very high deposit, the purpose of the right to vote and its
    very nature is defeated. note that i deem this deposit high based on the fact
    that a large majority of the registered parties are unable to pay this lump
    sum. it is imperative to note that one cannot exercise their full right to vote
    simply because it can be assumed that there is a possibility that their party
    of choice failed to appear on the ballot paper as a result of the high deposit
    that needs to be paid.

  • Prince Kurt

    perhaps administration could be a problem but constitutionally an individuals’ right to vote is limited because their choice of parties is limited by the amount set by the I E C. i disagree that there are many parties…according to the article out of 200 registered parties only 26 appear? this is questionable1

  • Thomas(14005141)

    This was just another last minute publicity stunt by the EFF. The EFF may be a new party and might not yet have the amount of “street cred” that larger parties like the ANC or DA have, but I am afraid that there is absolutely no way that they do not have enough money to pay the deposit.

    No one is denying that they are a new party, but when you consider the amount of money needed to run a pre-election campaign you start to wonder why they are actually complaining. The parties leader, Juluis Malema, could have paid the deposit out of his own pocket if he wanted to.

    Another reason why this argument of theirs would never fly is because they are complaining about a refundable amount. Complaining about that is like complaining about why the sun is shining on one side of the world and not the other, but not considering the fact that the sun will rise again in the morning. They probably have enough support to gain a seat in the NA so the chance of losing their money is quite slim. So just like the sun will return in the morning, so will their money.

  • Thomas(14005141)

    Well Prince if they want to compete with the ANC they should have thought about what resources they might need to do so effectively. Juluis himself could just go and ask SARS for another “loan” should the money be a real problem. Therefore I can not support your statement.

  • Johan Taljaard (14012252)

    I unfortunately disagree with you my dear Prince. Even if it were true, lets compare the EFF to COPE then in terms of “financial stability.”

    COPE was also a new party in the 2009 elections (founded in 2008), yet the party paid the required R 245 000 without a hassle. They also received 7.5 % of the total vote, despite being a new party that wasn’t as “financially strong” as the ANC.

    Today COPE has a much bigger budget than the one they had in the 2009 elections.

    The EFF only commented on the size of the deposit as a publicity stunt. To be competitive you must be willing to spend money to get votes. R 245 000 shouldn’t really be a obstacle at all.

    It’s unfortunately a hard truth when it comes to politics:”If you want to play with the big dogs, stop p*****g like a puppy …”

  • Aalia Kharbai

    A National Party should not be denied to right to be voted upon, but is understandable that there can not be an ample amount of parties which appear on the National Ballot and that a certain criteria, in this case the deposit fee system,(the deposit fee system does however present a limitation on the right to vote, but this
    limitation is justifiable in terms of the limitations clause in the Bill
    of Rights- as stated in the article), should be met in order to be among the other parties appearing on the national ballot. But if a party cannot manage to raise enough funds to pay the deposit amount to be considered, that leaves us wondering whether or not they will be able to manage to be a part of the running of the country? But then again the parties,some some capable than others, should not get preference as they could pay the deposit and other capable parties are disregarded due to their inability to pay the deposit fee.
    Every capable party should be allowed the chance to run in the election process, as that is what is fair and just. Another form of criteria should come about as well in order to help capable parties who cannot pay the deposit.

  • Prince Kurt

    you are right it is because of that very thought that he realizes the danger the deposit poses. the claim is that the steepness of the deposit discriminates majority of the parties that are registered, which as a result limits your spectrum of choice which is an infringement to your full right to vote!

  • Prince Kurt

    assertions! it is due to the “amount needed t run a pre-election campaign” that the EFF feels the deposit is too steep! the argument is not whether the amount is refundable or not it is to who is it of benefit to pay the large lump sum? we could assume that Malema could have been able to pop out the money from his own pocket, however by virtue of the fact that he realised the unfairness that arises from the high deposit that he lodges a complaint!

  • Clerence Kgatla (13284682)

    I completely disagree on the basis that it is not only EEF that has to pay the required account.COPE paid the amount when it was newly formed. Thus,this means that the whole process of paying the amount has been in place for a long time. Another aspect is that people should not form political parties if they know that they are not financially stable.

  • Gerrie

    As I understand, Prince, what you would ideally want is 200+ parties on the voters’ list. Firstly, as mentioned, the administrative troubles would be endless. Secondly (more importantly), it is extremely improbable that a political party which would not have been able to pay the deposit could obtain a single seat in the NA. The result of giving a fractional proportion of voters the opportunity to vote for a minor party is pointless.

  • Clerence Kgatla (13284682)

    Founders of political parties should be in place to pay the amount because they know the rules set out by the IEC .if they are not financially stable then they should not opt to form the political parties. 26 political parties still give citizens a fair amount of choice so the they can vote for the political parties.the IEC should not be blamed for the incapability of political parties to pay the amount,political parties should raise funds in order to pay the IEC

  • Clerence Kgatla (13284682)

    You cannot blame the ANC for Malema not paying tax.He should have known better but he decided to invade tax.VIVA ANC

  • mmathabo malatjie 14270278

    reading comments and below i find it very interesting that as youth we have so many interesting opinions about EFF and malema himself.those that argued that malema is just after attention as usual and should just pay the amount upfront,i have to unfortunately disagree with them,i agree with one comment however that stated that malema is lodging a complaint because he wants to know who the upfront deposit will benefit and felt that although this amount has been paid for years,he felt it was still unfair.it is however typical of malema to question common sense,but again not to sound sarcastic or a bit too neutral on this matter,for all those who are making fun of EFF,calling it the 2nd biggest joke of centuries,be careful because i am one of the vast majority that believes that EFF could be the 2nd opposition party in SA.yes,Malema is the common thief and has disappointed many of us.but,in comparison to all the parties that will make it to the national ballot,EFF is more promisin.what about the nkandla report? did this make us quewstion our governmnent/ the DA toilet drama in the western cape and smses? let us be careful with our criticism for EFF.lets relax,malema will be malema and eventually pay the deposit.for now,let him raise questions that might assist upcomin parties who may feel like the deposit fee whether refundable or not is a limitin clause

  • Reinette

    My personal view is that, if a political party has the funds
    needed to run election campaigns for publicity to gain supporters to try and
    obtain at least one seat in the NA, it
    shows that they (most probably) do not have any financial issues that might
    prohibit them from paying the required, refundable deposit. It makes sense (in
    my opinion) that, although the EFF might argue that there is a limitation on
    people’s right to vote, it is a justifiable limitation according to the
    limitation clause. I agree with the
    decision from the High Court who found the matter not to be urgent and Prof’s
    presumption that this may be since the deposit has been required for many years
    now.

  • Mashala Karabo(14336783)

    hahahaha the thing is SARS didnt investigate Malema before…. he was expelled from the ANC….
    VIVA EFF

  • Mashala Karabo(14336783)

    you seem to be against EFF…

  • Mashala Karabo(14336783)

    i think there is a relationship between the IEC and the ANC… the ANC once said “ANC will be in power forever”. Now the question is what makes them sure about that that?????its obvious…

  • 14171539

    The North Gauteng High Court had ruled that this appeal was
    not of urgency and indeed that’s what it is. The challenge that the EFF had
    brought forward was not even a challenge for the EFF to say the least, the EFF
    was more than able to pay the refundable deposit. The EFF’s argument seems to
    be a way of gaining more publicity. Even if it were just for the publicity it
    did raise the point that parties who were not financially inclined to pay
    deposit did not have the opportunity to partake in the elections but like the
    mentions if a political party wants to have any chance of obtaining a seat in the
    National Assembly they would have to spend a large sum of money. Tit is of my
    opinion that if you are able to campaign for the votes you are also more than
    able to pay the refundable deposit. The deposit has had much success and
    ensures that only serious, credible parties contest in the elections. The
    deposit also makes the administration and counting of votes easy. There is less
    room for corruption with the deposit system.

  • Gerrie

    Obviously there is quite a big dispute on the matter of the
    necessity and fairness of the deposits that have to be paid by political
    parties to be on the voting list. Some believe that the deposit is
    discriminatory in the sense that it violates an individual’s right to vote (In
    the instance that an individual’s party of choice was not able to pay the
    deposit). Therefore the deposits can be seen as discrimination as it imposes a
    disadvantage to some registered voters and thus withholds benefits,
    opportunities and advantages from these voters.

    However, Article 14 of the Promotion
    of Equality and Prevention of Discrimination Act (Determination of fairness or
    unfairness) and the Limitation Clause of the Constitution must be taken into
    account.

    1. The deposit does not impair human dignity as an individual is not completely
    restricted from voting.

    2. The impact of the deposit on an individual voter is practically nothing as
    it is almost impossible to imagine that a party without sufficient funding is
    capable of obtaining a seat in the N.A.

    2. The extent of discrimination is minimal as it affects only a minor
    proportion of voters (Voters who support a party without enough funds to
    compete).

    3. The deposit has a legitimate purpose: To facilitate administration; make the
    voting process easier, safer and more resistant to manipulation; prevent non-serious parties from competing in the election and; generate funds for the I.E.C. to
    complete its task.

    4. The deposit system achieves its purpose to a great extent, without impacting
    the outcome of an election.

    On the base of these 4 factors I argue that the deposit system is justifiable in
    terms of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Discrimination Act and the
    Limitation Clause of the Constitution (Article 14).

  • u14233569 LD Ngwasheng

    I agree with you.100%

  • Michelle Doubell – 14040702

    One can question the sincerity of the EFF’s application to the North Gauteng High Court regarding the deposit required to be paid by the political parties entering and its required urgency. Considering who will truly benefit from this request if granted it would then either be the potential political party with a possibility of gaining seats in the National Assembly or will it be the public with a chance of voting for a political party of a wider choice. In which case the latter’s right to vote, as it is, might be restricting or limiting. Though I think just because a party cannot register, doesn’t mean a person’s vote has been denied, rather only limited, we still have the freedom to vote.
    Also, no drastic complaints have been received from the other parties who have continuously paid the deposit each election year. If a party has enough support to think of registering, surely they must have enough finances to pay R180 000? If all parties or any party may register, it will become an administration nightmare and the accuracy of the vote counting may be unreliable and thus compromising our democratic freedom. This urgent request from the EFF might just be another election strategy to gain more votes.

  • 14032393

    In my opinion, this was a complete waste of the courts time. The EFF, as a party, lacks credibility and this poor attempt to gain publicity, by ‘disrupting’ the elections, does nothing to improve this credibility. South Africa has too many parties that will add no value to the elections and will only look to enrich themselves. I am happy that the IEC at least has some mechanisms that will mitigate this, whilst at least remaining true to our constitution.

  • Jabulani

    What the EFF was proposing is ridiculous. Just because they didnt have enough money to pay the required deposit they thought a good idea to contest the Act! When things dont suit Julius he regards them as unconstitutonal,well i am glad the North Gauteng High Court dismissed the application

  • Tafadzwa Mapani

    The issue at hand is not why money is being paid to the IEC but the amount of money that is required for the party to appear on the ballot paper. Firstly what has to be considered is that the EFF is a newly formed party which is mainly represented by the poor and unemployed South Africans. Additionally, it is the first party to focus mainly on the underprivileged. With that said it should be understood that most of the parties funding will rely on the EFF supporters so to compare it to parties like the ANC that can spend over a hundred million on a campaign only. From a personal point of view I feel that it is unfair because it’s funding base is still very significantly in its primitive stages.
Considering the above-mentioned the question at hand is: would such a party have enough funds to pay R605 000 rand still be able to campaign and handle other financial commitments dedicated to the further development of the party? It is very clear that the EFF meets the requirements that fall under the basis of the limitation of the IECs registration fee but it would be unfair for the EFF not to be able to run for the election as a result of an unreasonably high amount to appear on the ballot paper as this would consequently serve as a barrier to entry. More importantly it violates the political rights guaranteed in Section 19 of the Constitution. Its ultimate effect is to exclude poor people from exercising the right to stand for office.

  • Mariëtte van Schalkwyk

    I understand the fact that the EFF’s main focus is the unprivileged, but in order to run a successful campaign you obviously need the finance for it. It’s not really like you wake up one morning and randomly decide to start your own political party. You plan these things, talk to people and get the right people involved. In my opinion the EFF challenged the constitution in order to prove that they are not afraid to challenge the constitution.
    It is fair to say that every party should be allowed to participate even if they don’t have the finances, but the truth is that a poor party is not likely to succeed. Without finances you won’t be able to reach the people or to create any activities that can benefit them.
    Every worthy party should be able to pay the required amount. It’s been like that for years and it will be like that for years. The citizens of South Africa should be able to vote for the elite of political parties in order to benefit themselves in the future.
    If an political party can’t pay the required amount I do not see them as elite.

  • Melissa Kemp

    I think that you have misunderstood the author slightly. In my understanding it is not simply that it would be time consuming to count votes it is also that the higher the number of political parties the higher the risk of inaccuracy. This is not a case of the system being lazy; it is more a case of increasing the chance for error. Also, bear in mind that the deposit that is put in place is arguably in the voters’ best interests. It is the parties who pay this deposit and not the voters. Your argument is based on the example of if you were to start your own political party, I think that you need to take into account the fact that in order to gain support of voters you would have to campaign and this requires funds. Political parties in my understanding are backed by many funders who believe in the cause and can afford to do so. I believe that the argument that the author is trying to make is that the deposit is currently the only efficient way of ensuring that a political party is credible. Having ten people wanting to vote for you does not make you a credible contender in an election where you will be posed against parties who have a minimum of a hundred thousand people voting for them. Having a party without credibility on the ballot paper does not benefit the poor, as it’s then the public’s tax money that would be needed in order to pay for the increased hours required to count the votes. I feel therefore that this would defeat the purpose of ‘economic freedom fighting’ as you would be imposing greater economic restrictions on people who can ill afford it. With regards to your argument that the matter is indeed urgent I think that it is also necessary to remember that this deposit is not something that is new. It is stipulated in the Electoral Act which has been in place since 1998. It is therefore very hard to argue with any kind of reasonability that a matter can become urgent 16 years after it has come into existence. I do, however, feel that if members of the public wish to they should be able to easily access information as to the purpose of this deposit as well as information regarding what happens to these deposits if they are lost when the party cannot gain a seat in the National Assembly. I feel that this would allow greater understanding as to the need for this deposit. I say this only with reference to the public. In my opinion any political party that wishes to seriously take part in an election should have already looked into these matters and should have a clear understanding of the need for the deposit and as a result in my opinion the EFF’s application was a poor attempt to gain publicity.

  • 13263332

    The amount of money that newly formed parties have to pay is quite unreasonable,because it hinders the participation of the newly formed parties in the upcoming elections. The EFF actually has to be applauded for challenging the IEC concerning the money that has to be paid,and not only the Economic Fighters are being affected by this.All newly formed parties that are unable to pay the required funds are greatly affected and they are denied a chance to be on the ballot paper. Their supporters as well are being denied the chance to vote for the party of their own choice, since the parties they’d like to vote for won’t be found on the ballot paper.On the other hand, the deposit requirement will prevent long lists of parties on the ballot paper that will eventually cause confusion to mostly illiterate people.Time as well will be saved as there will only be few names of parties on the ballot paper,of which will cause the voting process to be more quicker.One may agree that the EFF had a very good point at hand by raising the issue of the deposit requirement,however while looking at the bright side of things,the deposit requirement will prevent a lot of confusions from the voters on the 07th May.

  • mxolisi masango 12110648

    The EFF is a new party and therefore its understandable that they are complaining about the deposit that political parties have to pay in oder to contest in the national and provincial elections. One must not forget though that a party that takes part in elections has to have finances to run a effective and sucessful election campaign. The party strives to fight for poor and unprivildged, but one would argue that money is needed to conduct elections. The best solution would be to categorise the parties and the amount of deposit they have to pay. This can be done according to how big or small the party is.

  • Nadia Britz-14198208

    In my opinion the required deposit of the IEC is justified as it helps with the logistics of the election. It is absurd to expect 200 parties on a ballad standing for different causes and differing in such a way that each one will obtain a seat in parliament. Thus the amount, however high the price may be, is justified in my opinion because every party that stands a chance to receive a seat in parliament has to have the necessary funds to pay at least thee amount required by the IEC in order to launch a campaign that can compete with those of bigger parties such as the ANC.

  • Riani Deacon 04464649

    I fully agree with the fact that political parties must pay a deposit to take part in the elections. There must be some way to limit the amount of political parties taking place in the election. Election day may take more than a day with more than 200 political parties on the ballot paper as it takes more time searching for the political party of your choice.
    It doesn’t matter what the limitation are there will always be someone to complain about it. On the proposal of submitting names to the IEC can also open more doors for corruption.
    When the political party can not meet the amount that they need to pay for the deposit, the voters need to ask themselves if this party will be able to provide in their (political) needs. When a political party is able to pay this deposit this would be a reassurance to the voter that the political parties is serious about their task to lead the country.

  • M.C. Armstrong – 14053633

    The deposit in a reasonable way to insure that the parties are serious and that only credible parties with support will appear on the ballot. Out of about 200 parties only 26 parties contested in the previous national election. If the deposit was not in place then many people would start a political party with little to no support since they had nothing to lose.

    The voting process would also be in total chaos with 200+ parties on the ballot and many illiterate voters would need help in choosing the party of their choice which like Pierre de Vos said: “thus ensuring that their vote would not be secret.” I think that it would influence the illiterate voters more negatively in regards to their right to vote if the ballot paper is complex and not being able to vote for who they choose on their own. Bringing in an official to help them choose can cause votes being changed or wrongfully placed!

    I agree with the IEC on this matter since it takes a lot of money to run a campaign for a political party and the deposit is refundable if they get a seat on the National Assembly (the EFF has a good chance to gain more than one seat on the National Assembly)

    I think that Malema has taken this to court to rally voters behind his cause and that he has gotten a lot of publicity from this stunt, ensuring that many poor people will vote for him!

  • 12004562

    The EFF is a newly formed party. It could be considered unreasonable for them to pay so much money to participate in the election. The EFF is a party that represents poor and unemployed people.

    From my personal point of view I don’t really think that it is unfair. The system has been in place for many years and it works fine. Other parties have corporate sponsors and that is only because they have a fighting chance and some good ideas. There are new parties every election who pay these deposits. This means that it is possible. I think the system works and it should stay as it is. We don’t want 200 parties to choose from when voting!

  • Cilliers de Villiers

    Die EFF het wel hul aansoek verloor om die betaling van die verkiesingsdeposito verloor, maar steeds het hulle hul doel bereik.Die EFF het die nodige deposito betyds betaal en deel gevorm van die verkiesingslys vir 7 Mei, maar meer belangrik het die EFF wenkbroue gelig en publisiteit verkry. Die deposito moet nie deur Malema en die EFF as ‘n las gesien word nie, maar eerder ‘n belegging.

    Dit sal interresant wees oor hoe die IEC op die spesifieke Rand bedrae besluit het. Om die bedrag gedeeltelik te verlaag kan moontlik veroorsaak dat meer partye die deposito sal kan betaal, maar volgens my opinie is dit nie waarskynlik dat meer partye sou betaal nie. Die verlaagde bedrag sou ook nie so absurd wees nie. Die EFF het defenintief grond onder hulle voete met die stelling dat die groot deposito bedrag hulle weerhoed om ‘n party te bestuur, maar ‘n deposito fooi sal moet bestaan.

    Onlangse diensteopstande in areas waar die ANC aan bewind is, soos by Bloemhof en Christiana en ook waar die DA aan bewind is, Gugulethu, Joe Slovo en Dunoon sal in die guns van partye soos die EFF speel. Mense sal ‘n alternatief soek vir die party wat swak dienste lewer, en dalk moontlik is die alternatief die EFF.

  • Nina Robertson-14072000

    The relevance of the deposit is completely appropriate for the position that South Africa is in at the moment. This is not to say that pro-poor parties do not deserve as much a chance as any other party. If a party is contesting the election and thus needing to raise the funds to do so, if they are successful this shows the parties have a support base and thus the ability to achieve it’s goals. This requirement in fact can be seen as a bases against which these parties can measure their most probable success rate. Surely, like the EFF, the parties are aware of the average amount of their supporters. In my mind, a large following should help their party some what to attain said deposit needed to take part inthe elections. Never mind the administration involved, if we have 200 parties waving their flags around claiming that “WE can do it better”, the only thing left to ponder on is, ‘What would we really be trying to accomplish here, unity or divergence?’ The EFF have the funds, they are likely to obtain seats in legislature, this challenge just seems unnecessary and definitely not charming.

  • Michelle Sakarombe

    The EFF had a right to contest against the required fee basing on the idea of it being a small party.However it should be considered that this fee is aimed at proving one’s seriousness in the campaign .