18 March 2014
Twenty years into democracy, multi-party politics is flourishing in South Africa, with a record number of political parties set to contest the country’s fifth national and provincial elections on 7 May, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said on Monday.
“Following last Wednesday’s deadline for the payment of deposits and submission of documentation, including candidate lists, by political parties, a total number of 33 political parties have indicated their intention to contest the election of the National Assembly – although four parties are yet to fully comply with prescribed deposits and may be ruled out before the election,” the IEC said in a statement.
According to the legislation and election timetable, parties still have until 24 March to submit any outstanding requirements.
If all 33 parties meet their obligations, this will be seven more (or 26% more) parties than contested the 2009 national election and just over double the number of parties (16) which contested in 1999, the IEC said. There were 19 parties on the national ballot paper in South Africa’s historic first democratic election in 1994, and 21 parties in 2004.
Assuming no drop-outs for this year’s election, this would bring the overall number of parties, including parties contesting only the provincial elections, to 152.
In terms of the provincial elections, the Western Cape will be the most contested province, with 26 parties submitting lists (up from 22 in 2009).
This is followed by Gauteng with 22 parties having submitted lists (up from 20 in 2009), Limpopo with 20 (18 in 2009), the Eastern Cape with 18 (17 in 2009), waZulu-Natal with 18 (17 in 2009), Free State with 17 (14 in 2009), and Mpumalanga, the Northern Cape and North West with 16 parties each (respectively 15, 13, 16 in 2009).
These numbers may reduce slightly if the parties fail to fulfill their obligations before 24 March.
The IEC said it had sent notices of non-compliance to all affected political parties on Saturday, giving them until 24 March 2014 to rectify any non-compliance. The lists of candidates for each party (national and provincial) will then be available for inspection from 28 March.
“Any objection to candidates must be submitted to the Electoral Commission’s head office in Centurion in writing before 17h00 on Tuesday 1 April 2014,” the IEC said. “Such objections must indicate the reason for the objection to a candidate and must show that a copy of the objection has also been lodged with the relevant political party.
“The commission will rule on the objections by Monday 7 April 2014, and any appeals to the rulings must be submitted to the Electoral Court by 10 April 2014. The final deadline for decisions of the Electoral Court is 15 April 2014, following which the final list of candidates contesting the elections will be published on 22 April and certificates issued to candidates by 24 April.”