Battle for ‘political space’ could go to court, EFF tells the government
Party says disallowing political programmes and activities is undemocratic and irrational
The EFF on Sunday threatened to take the government to court unless the country’s “political space” is reopened.
The EFF also said that it is important to allow political gatherings, with the country likely to hold local government elections before the end of November.
“To disallow political programmes and activities is therefore undemocratic and irrational, because political parties are not allowed to prepare for elections freely and fairly. Denying political parties to freely campaign for elections is unconstitutional and violates the essence of a democratic order,” the EFF said.
In a statement on Sunday, the party said this reopening will allow all political parties to hold political gatherings, and physically attend municipal council, provincial legislature and parliamentary meetings and events — but only in “strict compliance to the necessary health protocols to avoid the spread of coronavirus”.
“It is now almost 12 months since SA political spaces have been restricted while government officials continue to engage in programmes that necessitate closer oversight and scrutiny,” the statement said.
“Many workplaces in SA, including huge factories and mines, are presently reopened.... It is irrational to continue shutting down the political space. We therefore demand that all political spaces be reopened so that we can engage in programmes and activities that will hold government accountable,” it said.
The party said it would write to President Cyril Ramaphosa to present its demand. Refusal to do so will necessitate that it take additional steps including approaching the courts to challenge the constitutionality of closing the political space while many people are gathering in workplaces, malls, restaurants and [at] religious gatherings, it said.
“We will do so because denying people the right to democratically challenge the sitting government is an affront to the constitution and democratic order,” the statement said.
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