Court dismisses EFF IEC payment case

Last week, EFF members protested outside the Pretoria high court against the IEC's fees. (AFP)

Last week, EFF members protested outside the Pretoria high court against the IEC's fees. (AFP)

The high court in Pretoria on Tuesday dismissed an application by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) for an interdict relating to the payment of a deposit to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

Judge Joseph Raulinga said he was putting final touches to his ruling and only read out his brief order in court.

"The matter is not urgent. The application is dismissed with costs, and the applicant is ordered to pay the costs of a postponement of March 4," he said.

Raulinga said his judgment would be ready on Wednesday.

"The judgment is ready but I still have to cross the t's and dot the i's."

Won't pay
Last week, 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.

Raulinga said last week that 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.

'Class discrimination'
"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. 

The party took President Jacob Zuma, Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor and the IEC to court.

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

The EFF was seeking to have this requirement removed or greatly reduced. – Sapa

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