The African National Congress (ANC) is now pinning its hopes on the outcome of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) application at the Constitutional Court to have the local elections postponed. This follows its decision to withdraw its earlier application to the Electoral Court to force the IEC to reopen the candidates’ registration process for a day to allow it to field its would-be councillors in the over 90 municipalities.

But if the apex does not rule in favour of the commission, the governing party will only contest elections in 185 out of the 278 municipalities.

ANC briefing on the candidate selection process:

If the apex ruling goes in favour of the IEC and elections are postponed, this would mean again the IEC will have to draw another election timetable and this would include the new voter registration as well as the new date for the submission of candidate lists which will be relief for the ANC.

The party’s Dakota Legoete says going ahead with its application in the Electoral Court to have the registration of candidates list reopened would be a duplication of efforts by the IEC before the Constitutional Court.

“We took a decision to change our mind of approaching the Electoral Court because as the ANC together with the IEC, we have brought an application to the ConCourt requesting the postponement of the election and we changed our mind after realising that it would be a duplication of efforts and attempts of the ANC to get free and fair elections. We saw it fit that rather than bringing an application to the Electoral Court, rather let’s pin our hopes in the application before the ConCourt which is requesting the postponement of elections in total.”

A party in crisis 

But political analyst Levy Ndou says the ANC failure to register candidates is a testimony of a party in crisis.

” The ANC is indeed in tatters, looking at the fact that the matter that the ANC was taking to the Electoral Court is a matter that has its roots in the challenges the ANC is facing today. If the ANC was having a happy staff, being paid on time, maybe the ANC would not be in this situation. Number two, the ANC could not finalise its activities based on the fact that there are a lot of ANC members who are still not happy with the processes that were followed when the lists were compiled.”

In all three metros in Gauteng, the ANC won’t be able to field at least 32 candidates with six in Johannesburg, 14 in Ekurhuleni and 12 in Tshwane. But Legoete also insists that even if the Constitutional Court rules against the IEC application, bitter as it may be, it’s something the governing party will have to live with.

” I would not want to second-guess the administrators of law and justice but if that was to be the case it’s a reality that we have to live, we will have to accept it once there is an outcome but for now we are confident that even though it’s a gamble we don’t know, we may lose, we may win. ”

Although the IEC application was heard on 20 August its outcome is awaited with bated breath by many political parties.

Earlier the Chair of the Democratic Alliance Federal Council Helen Zille said the ANC’s withdrawal of its application to the Electoral Court was based on leaks from the Constitutional Court, something the ANC had dismissed as a contemptuous insinuation.