Mail & Guardian 15 July 2019
The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has ruled that the Black First Land First’s (BLF) registration as a political party is unlawful under section 16(1)(c)(ii) of the Electoral Commission Act.
The commission made this ruling based on a complaint laid by the Freedom Front Plus, which alleged that the BLF excludes membership on the basis of race.
The IEC initially defended its 2016 decision to approve the registration of BLF as the commission did not find that the party’s constitution expressly excluded white people from membership.
However, the commission announced in a statement on Monday that BLF had clarified its position, stating that it does exclude white people from membership.
“This admission settles any ambiguity in relation to clause 4 that previously existed. It also resolves the dispute as to whether the BLF is a party with a constitution that entitles it to registration: It is not.
Section 16(1)(c) of the Electoral Commission Act gives the CEO (and, on appeal, the Commission) no discretion but to reject an application for registration if membership of a party is excluded on any of the grounds prohibited under subsection (ii).
“Consequently, the registration of the BLF as a party is unlawful on the grounds that it was prohibited under section 16(1)(c)(ii) of the ECA and is invalid,” the IEC said.
The commission has also taken a decision to uphold the African Transformation Movement (ATM) as a registered political party, rejecting an appeal made against the party by the South African Council of Messianic Churches in Christ (SACMCC).
SACMCC challenged the ATM’s registration on the basis that the party had not submitted all the required documentation. However, the IEC found that the party had met all requirements according to the Electoral Commission Act.
“On careful consideration of the documentary evidence before the Commission, there can be no doubt that the ATC [African Transformation Congress] and ATM are the same political party and further that the two registration applications are interlinked. The supplementary application only sought to deal with those particulars in the initial application that had rendered the ATC inadmissible, (i.e. the name and logo),” the IEC said.