New party seeks new name

2008-11-03 00:00

THE ANC breakaway group was forced to withdraw its new name yesterday, barely hours after announcing it — because it is identical to the name of another registered political party.

The breakaway party, led by former ANC national chairman Mosiuoa Lekota and former Gauteng premier Mbhazima Shilowa, was first alerted by The Witness that the name — South African Democratic Congress — is identical to that of a National Democratic Convention breakaway party registered by Dr Ziba Jiyane early this year.

The only difference is that the acronym chosen for the new party — Sadec — lacks the “o” used by Jiyane’s Sadeco.

In a damage-control exercise, leaders phoned Sadeco’s top office-bearers, including Jiyane, to apologise for “stealing” the name of his party, and then went back to the drawing board for another name.

After the convention held in Sandton at the weekend, delegates from different provinces proposed names and the interim steering committee, which includes Lekota, former deputy defence minister Mluleki George and Shilowa, made the decision.

“We have just learnt it from you. We did not know that there was another registered party that had a similar name to the one that we have just announced.

“This means that we have to go back to the drawing board and come up with another name. We are not going to fight for names,” spokesman Mbulelo Ncedana told The Witness just after announcing the new name.

Ncedana said the leaders have had difficulty in coming up with a name for their party.

“It is not easy for us to get the name because we do not want just any name.

“We want the name that will reflect what we stand for, which is democratic values.

“We also had a problem with the first name because the ANC decided to take us to court for the name that they do not own,” he said.

Sadeco secretary Samuel Kennedy said he was shocked that the new movement had taken their name.

He said a statement would be issued yesterday afternoon about the steps they would take.

Lekota also said they would discuss the name and issue a statement yesterday afternoon.

However, both Lekota’s and Kennedy’s cellphones were off last night.

Leaders of the new party are racing against time in trying to organise, as they have only six months to sell it to the voters. The new party will be officially launched in Bloemfontein on December 16 and the process of registering it with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) was supposed to begin yesterday morning.

According to the IEC requirements, people who wish to register political parties need submit a completed application for registration. The name of the party must not be more than 60 words and its abbreviated name must not be more than eight letters.

IEC provincial electoral officer Mawethu Mosery said the name of the party, its abbreviation and symbol should not resemble that of any registered party to avoid causing confusion among voters.

“In this case, it goes without saying that voters will be confused because both parties are called South African Democratic Congress.

“I just want to stress that people are given the opportunity to object to any new name if they are not happy with the name,” he said.

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