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Deadline looms for political parties


South Africa has seen a steady increase in the number of political parties contesting national elections since 1999

Photo: African News Agency

BY THE close of business today, South Africans will know which parties will be on the ballot paper for the May 8 national and provincial elections.

In a statement issued yesterday, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said only registered political parties that had paid deposits and submitted candidate lists by 5pm today would be allowed to contest the elections.

By 9am yesterday morning, 22 political parties had paid their deposits and 12 had submitted candidate lists.

Approximately 34 parties had indicated their intention of contesting, the IEC said.

South Africa has seen a steady increase in the number of political parties contesting national elections since 1999.

In 1999 there were 16 parties contesting the national ballot and 13 won representation in the National Assembly. By 2014 the number of parties contesting had grown to 29, although there were still only 13 represented in the National Assembly.

Parties contesting both national and provincial elections are required to pay a deposit of R200 000 for the national ballot and R45 000 for each provincial ballot.

“The deposit is refunded in full to parties which win at least one seat in each legislature they contest. The deposits of parties that fail to secure a seat are forfeited to the National Revenue Fund,” IEC spokesperson Kate Bapela said.

The submission of candidate lists and the payment of deposits is largely done electronically, using the Online Candidate Nomination System.

Lists must contain no more than 400 candidates for the national election and no more than the total number of representatives for each provincial legislature.

Once today’s deadline has passed, the Electoral Commission will have until March 19 to advise parties of any non-compliance in respect of candidate lists which must be rectified by March 25.

The election timetable also provides an opportunity for the Electoral Commission to notify parties of any candidates appearing on lists of other parties by March 26. The affected parties have until March 28 to submit substitutes for these candidates.

The final list of candidates will be published on March 29.