The Dagga Party of South Africa is hoping to “#HotBoxTheHouse” as it prepares to contest this year’s elections and potentially have a say on cannabis legislation in Parliament, if it can raise the hefty R200 000 registration free.
“I ask you to stand ready to stand together around the cannabis tree at elections 2019,” party leader Jeremy Acton wrote on Facebook as he rallied like-minded thinkers to register to vote.
Also known as Iqela Lentsango, the party wants to be sitting among the legislators who will rework the law to regulate the use of the plant after the Constitutional Court ruled last year that criminalising private use was unconstitutional.
It tried to run in the 2014 general elections but could not afford the deposit at the time and so missed the deadline to be included on the ballot papers.
The Constitutional Court gave Parliament two years from September 2018 to revisit laws which Acton and co-campaigner Garreth Prince had first submitted in the Western Cape High Court are out of step with modern life and the economic and medicinal potential of the plant.
“I make this call to all citizens across South Africa who are of all cultures and in all areas, I call to all ages, especially the youth, who support the legalisation of cannabis for the public benefit in South Africa,” said Acton in the Facebook post.
Cannabis leaf logo registered
With the hashtags #SmokeThemOut #HotboxTheHouse #DaggaParty, he is appealing to young people who have never voted and farmers who want to use their land rights to grow and harvest the plant.
The final registration weekend to vote in this year’s national and provincial elections is over the weekend of January 26 and 27.
“We have to #Occupy the National Assembly, and all the parliamentary committees that determine policy for our country. We must claim our place at the tables that discuss the future of cannabis, and the future of our children. Only a majority gives us the voice and power to determine our own future.”
However, the Dagga Party still has to raise the hefty deposit required to contest the election.
Acton said the party was already nationally registered with a seven-pointed cannabis leaf as its logo. The fees to register a party and its logo are R500, according to the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) website.
This is just to register the party’s name, logo, and contact details, and for the IEC to make sure it is not a copy or too close of a likeness to another party’s branding. It also requires the signatures of 500 registered voters as its founding members and a hard copy of the Government Gazette in which notice to register the party appeared.
No funding from IEC
However, it is the hefty deposit to apply to contest an election and to get that logo on to the ballot papers that costs the big money.
The party does not get a share of the electoral commission’s political party funding kitty which gives parties already represented in the National Assembly and provincial legislatures money toward their overheads.
An amount of R140 729 576 was allocated to parties represented in these institutions for the year ended March 31 2018, according to the IEC.
Shared according to the numbers of representatives each party has, this ranged from R152 598.36 for the PAC, to R11 401 684.96 for the EFF, R30 476 476.88 for the DA and R83 580 697.60 for the ANC.
Chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo said that not all parties who are registered will automatically take part in the elections.
Mamabolo said this was limited to parties who would have successfully paid a R200 000 deposit to contest the national elections, and R45 000 to contest in each province.
IEC spokesperson Kate Bapela told News24 the deadline for registering a party and paying the deposit was yet to be announced, so there was still time for fundraising.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has indicated his intention to call an election before the end of May 2019, when the current administration’s term ends. — News24