The Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) is determined to see that Winnie Madikizela-Mandela is not allowed to contest the forthcoming election, and after having its protest to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) turned down, it has decided to take the matter to the electoral court, the party said on Tuesday.
“The FF Plus is still of the opinion that Winnie Mandela is not qualified and that the IEC made a mistake in its decision on her candidacy,” said Pieter Groenewald, who chairs the party’s federal legal committee.
“The Electoral Court will have to hand its decision on this matter down by March 31 in order to remain within the rules of the Electoral Act.
“According to the letter of the IEC addressed to the Freedom Front Plus, the FF Plus’s objection against Winnie Mandela’s candidacy is dismissed as a dispute on the interpretation of the Act and not as a factual dispute. It is clear that the IEC is not prepared to make an unpopular decision and therefore passed the ball back to the Freedom Front Plus.
“It is the task of the IEC to see to it that all candidates meet the legal requirements. In order for it to do this, the IEC has to be able to interpret the law.”
Groenewald explained that the FF Plus is still of the opinion that Madikizela-Mandela does not qualify in terms of section 47(1)(e) of the Constitution (108 of 1996).
“This section clearly stipulates that anybody who is found guilty of a crime and is sentenced for a period of at least 12 months without the option of a fine, does not qualify to be a member of the National Assembly,” he said.
“The relevant section furthermore stipulates that the disqualification only ends five years after a sentence had been served. Madikizela-Mandela was sentenced to three and a half years in prison in July 2004, without the option of a fine, and the five-year period only expires in July of this year.” — I-Net Bridge