An Election Commission worker tears a ballot paper at a voting station during local municipal elections. Picture: EPA/KEVIN SUTHERLAND
An Election Commission worker tears a ballot paper at a voting station during local municipal elections. Picture: EPA/KEVIN SUTHERLAND

The Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) has proposed maintaining the R200,000 deposit for political parties wanting to contest in the national elections.

A further R45,000 would need to be paid for each provincial election contested. This means that a party contesting national and all provincial elections will have to pay a deposit of R605,000.

These were the same amounts used in the 2014 national and provincial elections.

The 2019 election is set to be hotly contested. The ANC is pushing to keep its majority while the DA has its sights set on taking Gauteng and the Northern Cape from the governing party.

According to reports, President Cyril Ramaphosa, while attending the UN General Assembly in New York in September, hinted that elections would take place before May 2019. The president, by proclamation, calls and sets dates for an election.

The IEC has also approached the Constitutional Court to extend its deadline to complete the voters roll to November 29 2019. Should this be granted, it would give the commission time until after the 2019 national elections to complete the work.

The IEC did not meet a June deadline to ensure the voters roll was completed by including addresses for all voters, after the court found in 2016 found that the absence of this information was unconstitutional.

The Constitutional Court has already ordered an interim extension until November 30 2018, while it determines whether a further extension should be granted.

On Tuesday, the IEC published a notice inviting interested parties and members of the public to comment on the proposed quantum of election deposits. The closing date for the submissions is October 28 2018.

“The use of election deposits is common practice around the world as a way to balance the constitutional right to contest elections with the need to obviate frivolity in the electoral contest,” the IEC said.

There are currently 262 political parties registered nationally. The commission said these parties would be in a position to contest elections next year, subject to fulfilling the candidate nomination requirements and paying the prescribed election deposits. Parties receive their deposits back if they win a seat in the National Assembly and/or provincial legislatures.

In 2014, 29 political parties contested the national election, 13 of which won seats in the National Assembly. The IEC confirmed that any money from deposits forfeited accrues to the National Revenue Fund. 

quintalg@businesslive.co.za

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