Advocate Pansy Tlakula Independant Electoral Commission (IEC) chief electoral officer.Picture: Gallo Images
With the May 18 election date to be gazetted on Thursday, the Independent Electoral Commission has appealed to political parties not to submit different lists for their candidates contesting the municipal polls.
IEC commissioner Terry Tselane told MPs yesterday that this was one of the frustrations they had come across during the local government elections which was sparked by infighting among some parties.
While the commission was ready to conduct the elections, they were concerned that parallel structures in the parties, with each faction submitting its own list of candidates, affected the work of the IEC, Tselane told the National Assembly’s committee on home affairs.
He urged parties to give the IEC the names of their members who would be authorised to submit the list of candidates contesting the elections in different wards.
Tselane told MPs that as they could not get involved in internal party matters, the onus was on politicians to ensure that there were not different lists for the same party.
Speaking to journalists later, Tselane said they hoped that the parties would heed the IEC’s call.
In previous elections the commission had encountered such problems, said Tselane, adding: “We (would) think that we are dealing with one list and after 24 hours another party comes with another list to say ‘that person who gave you the list is not a candidate for us to be doing it’,” he explained.
“In our interaction with political parties we always emphasise the fact that they must give us the names of people who are authorised to submit those lists,” said Tselane.
Tselane said the IEC had not yet come across the problem because parties would start submitting their nomination lists after the election had been proclaimed tomorrow.
“We know that political parties have issues of tension about who is actually a leader of that political party. It will have implications in terms of how we run our processes. It is on that basis that we are saying that political parties must submit the list of those people that will be authorised. We are trying to avoid a situation where in the morning you receive a list from political parties from one specific leadership and later on another one comes and says the person who submitted the list is not authorised,” he added.
Asked how they would resolve a situation like that in Cope, where there were two factions each claiming to be in charge Tselane responded: “We are operating on the basis of information submitted to us before the (2009) elections. Until such time that there are changes we will continue to operate on the basis of information they submitted to us.”
It was in that context that the commission recognises Mosiuoa Lekota as Cope’s leader and it was on that basis that Lekota was invited to the IEC’s summit last week, Tselane explained.
IEC chief electoral officer Pansy Tlakula said the final number of registered voters would be announced today following the weekend’s last registration date.