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EFF files court challenge against 'exorbitant' IEC fees

Sarah Evans

The Economic Freedom Fighters have filed papers in the Electoral Court challenging a section of the IEC Act regarding registration fees.

The EFF wants the court to order the IEC to give it, and other smaller parties, exception from the section or a more reasonable fee. (Gallo)

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have filed papers in the electoral court challenging a section of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) Act that requires political parties to pay "exorbitant" fees when registering to participate in elections.

The Mail & Guardian understands that the EFF will eventually challenge the constitutionality of the section, which it says excludes smaller parties who don't receive funding from Parliament.

Deposits to participate in elections, including in the provinces, can cost parties around R600 000.

In the meantime, the EFF wants the court to order the IEC to give it, and other smaller parties, exception from the section or a more reasonable fee.

According to a source close to the court challenge, the application will not be opposed by the presidency or the minister of home of affairs. The IEC is also a respondent. 

The application has been set down for arguments on March 4, the party confirmed on Thursday. 

EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi confirmed the party will seek to interdict the imposition of "exorbitant" deposits, to be paid by parties seeking to contest the election. The party will ultimately seek to have the relevant sections of the Act declared unconstitutional.

Ndlozi said the amount require by the IEC is in excess of R600 000 broken down into R45 000 per province and R200 000 for national contestation.

"All four parties [including the presidency, home affairs and the IEC] are in the process of exchanging papers which should be finalised by the end of the week.

"EFF strongly rejects the imposition of such a high deposit and views it as simply unfair to new entrants. It also serves as a barrier to entry and most 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."


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