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EFF member dies outside IEC court hearing

Sapa

A member of the Economic Freedom Fighters has died outside the high court in Pretoria, where the party is fighting the IEC's registration fees.

EFF members protested outside the high court in Pretoria against the IEC's deposit required to contest the polls nationally. (AFP)

An Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) member died after he collapsed outside the high court in Pretoria on Wednesday.

The man's body lay on the ground covered in foil by mid-afternoon after Tshwane emergency staff tried to resuscitate him earlier.

Metro police, emergency staff and members of the EFF stood around him as they waited for the government mortuary vehicle to arrive and collect the body.

Earlier, staff administered CPR on the man for over an hour.

The man wore an EFF shirt and black jeans and had joined about 100 fellow members singing outside court.

The party supporters had been singing and chanting since 11am. They ran around Church Square carrying placards with anti-Zuma slogans.

EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi confirmed that the man, only identified as Max, had died.

"He was running on Church Square, he got tripped by the chains around Paul Kruger's statue" said Ndlozi. "He fell terribly on his head. His name is Max. It was an accident."

Interdict
The party was in Pretoria to seek an interdict against having to pay a deposit to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) when submitting lists of candidates for the upcoming elections.

EFF members would not speak to anyone and barred journalists from taking pictures at the scene.

The EFF has taken President Jacob Zuma, Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor, and the IEC to court.

Political parties have to pay a deposit of more than R600 000 – R45 000 per province and R200 000 to fully contest the polls nationally.

On Tuesday, EFF leader Julius Malema said his party would not pay the amount.

Dumisa Ntsebeza, for the EFF, said disadvantaged communities would be stripped of this right if the court did not interdict the IEC from charging "huge amounts" for contesting the polls.

"It is a violation of the rights which are enshrined in the Constitution," he told the court.

Ntsebeza said the IEC's demand for such large deposits disenfranchised poor communities, and was similar to apartheid.

Financial deposit
Judge Joseph Raulinga said the IEC used the financial deposit requirement to guarantee the "seriousness" of political parties vying for public office.

The EFF's justice spokesperson Dali Mpofu, speaking to reporters outside the court, said there were numerous alternative methods for a party to prove their seriousness.

"The means of testing the seriousness cannot only be financial. Our counsel [Ntsebeza] has emphasised that discriminating against people on the basis of class is not different from what happened under apartheid.

"Our commander-in-chief [Malema] has said we cannot lose this case. If we lose this case in the technical sense [in court], it means we have won in showing that the Constitution is capitalist and favours only the rich," he said.

Mpofu said it was "unacceptable" that Zuma and Pandor had elected not to be represented in court. The two parties had indicated they would abide by the high court's decisions.

"The IEC is supposedly an independent body, it should not be tainted. It cannot be the IEC defending legislation in court, as is happening now," he said.

"Putting the IEC in a position where it must defend legislation ... taints its independence."

Resounding welcome
Malema sat near his legal team during court proceedings on Wednesday.

He got a resounding welcome from supporters as he walked into the court premises in central Pretoria.

"We are tired of being dominated by capitalist ideas. Let us find less capitalist mechanisms of verifying the seriousness of political organisations. Money is not everything," Malema told reporters.

The EFF would be willing to comply if the electoral body proposed a figure of around R100 or R200.

Malema said the current IEC requirement excluded poor people from contesting the elections. – Sapa

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