IEC seeks appeal in ConCourt over MK party ruling

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The Electoral Commission has confirmed that it has filed an application with the Constitutional Court seeking leave to appeal against the Electoral Court’s ruling in favour of the uMkhonto we Sizwe party.

This is despite the fact that the Electoral Court has yet to give its reasons for ruling against the Commission, which disqualified the party’s leader, Jacob Zuma, from running for a seat in the National Assembly.

The disqualification followed a member of the public contest against Zuma’s candidature. The Electoral Court emailed its verdict to both the commission and the party on Tuesday.

In a statement on Friday, the IEC says,  “The Commission believes there is substantial public interest in providing certainty on the proper interpretation of section 47(1)(e) and its interplay with the powers of the Commission to adjudicate objections to candidates. Such clarity is important in the present matter because of a live issue but also for future elections. It is furthermore important that such legal clarification is obtained from the highest court in the land which has constitutional-matter jurisdiction. Hence, a direct appeal to the Constitutional Court.”

IEC responsibility

IEC Chief Electoral Officier Sy Mamabolo further says the IEC has a responsibility to clarify the applicable constitutional principles regarding the nomination of candidates to stand in elections and to ensure that they are applied equally to all candidates.

Mamabolo explains that the IEC does not want to enter into the political field of play.

“We are here dealing with matters of constitutional provisions it is important that clarity is sought in the highest court of the land not because of the personality involved but precisely because there has to be legal certainty as to what is the correct legal interpretation of section 47 (1) (e) and its interplay with Section 30 of the Electoral Act that’s what the Commission is dealing with.”

MK party’s reaction 

The MK Party has questioned the independence of the IEC ahead of the May elections. This is in light of the Electoral Commission appealing the Electoral Court’s decision that former President Jacob Zuma can stand as the party’s candidate in the May polls.