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ActionSA and IEC heading for a court showdown over omission of party name on the ballots

The Electoral Commission of South Africa’s (IEC) decision to omit ActionSA’s name and only use its logo on the ballot paper, is an unnecessary distraction at a time when the party should be concentrating on ramping up its campaigning, says Party leader, Herman Mashaba.

  • ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba has bemoaned the IEC’s decision to omit his party’s name and only have it represented through its logo.
  • Mashaba said with less than four weeks to go to the municipal elections, ActionSA ought to be ramping up its campaign, not be filing court papers challenging the IEC. 
  • The IEC blamed ActionSA for the party’s name not appearing on the ballot, saying the party did not choose an abbreviation when it registered with the commission.

“It [the IEC’s decision] has made me angry; I am gatvol,” Mashaba told News24 while on the campaign trail in Duduza, Ekurhuleni on Tuesday. 

The ActionSA leader, however, vowed to ensure that this “injustice” against his party was resolved. 

“I want to assure South Africans that when they go and vote on 1 November, that both ActionSA’s logo and name are going to be on the ballot box whether the IEC and the ANC like it or not. We live in a democracy with laws and at the end of the day, we will make sure that both our name and logo appear,” said Mashaba.   Action South Africa supporters carry posters showi South Africa supporters at the party’s manifesto launch.Phill Magakoe / AFP

He added the his party’s lawyers were finalising the party’s court papers challenging the IEC’s decision.  

“Our lawyers are busy as I am talking to you; they are busy preparing to finalise and file our papers later this afternoon, latest tomorrow morning. That is why I am confident of this case that when we go to vote, the ActionSA name will be on the ballot box,” said Mashaba.  

The IEC said it was ActionSA’s own fault its abbreviated name was not on the ballot paper.

The commission said when it signed up as a political party, ActionSA elected not to register an abbreviated name or acronym. 

Space

“ActionSA, in their documents in which they applied for registration as a political party, and which must be publicly [sic] lodged in terms of the regulations, responded with a ‘Not Applicable’ in the space where the political party was required to indicate its abbreviated name,” the IEC said in a statement on Monday.

IEC Chief Electoral Officer, Sy Mamabolo had also insisted that parties with even shorter names had given the IEC both their name and acronym.slide 1 of 1Action South Africa supporters sing and chant duriAction SA supporters pictured during the party’s manifesto launch on Wednesday.Phill Magakoe / AFP

“For example, GOOD have registered GOOD as the name of the party and they’ve also registered that as the acronym of the party.”

However, Mashaba disputed this, saying there was no legal relationship or basis between the IEC’s registration paper and how parties appeared on the ballot paper.  

“Why do we have to use our acronym? As per the Electoral Act, if you have got your name that is under eight characters then this name ought to appear on the ballot. Why then would the IEC want us to still have an acronym?

“We are ActionSA, we do not have any other name and ActionSA has got eight characters, so why must the IEC expect us to reduce it any further. We made it clear, we said ‘no, you put ActionSA as it is because it is within the laws of this country’.

“If ever there was any confusion, why then decide to put us as a logo, instead of the name? When you look at our registration papers, we first registered as ActionSA, we did not register ourselves as a logo. When you go down on the registration paper that’s where you find the logo, but who gave then the right to register us as a logo. We are not a logo, we are a political party called ActionSA,” said Mashaba.

He also reiterated that his party wanted to be represented by both its name and logo.

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