Durban – The National Freedom Party has ditched its Constitutional Court bid and has gone back to the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) to present new evidence, the party’s acting national chairperson said on Tuesday.
"Our legal team has submitted new evidence to the Electoral Commission. We had to submit by 11:00," the NFP’s Bheki Gumbi said,
Last week, the party told News24 that it would be approaching the Constitutional Court in a bid to have the Electoral Court’s decision set aside so that the party could participate in the elections.
The party has been allowed to contest the elections in one municipality in KwaZulu-Natal since the IEC disqualified it from the elections for failing to pay the deposit by the June 2 deadline.
The party has been allowed to contest elections in Nquthu.
Gumbi would not be drawn on elaborating on what the new evidence was, but said the party was confident it had a strong case.
"We have a strong case this time. We hope that the IEC will lend us an ear. Previously we blamed it on human error because the leaders confessed to getting the dates wrong. We lost the case before we even approached the court because of that admission."
He said if the Electoral Commission dismissed the new evidence, the party would approach the Constitutional Court to challenge the decision.
"If the need arises, then we will approach the Constitutional Court. We have decided to temporarily ditch the Constitutional Court appeal because we believe the new information is damning."
'They can still change their minds'
With less than a month to go until the August 3 local government elections, the party said it was concerned because it was running out of options.
"The matter is before the IEC and we hope that it will be treated as a matter of urgency. They can still change their minds and let us participate. We are still campaigning, but it is a bit difficult because of this cloud hanging above our heads."
Gumbi urged members to continue campaigning for the elections.
He said the party was still trying to locate its treasurer, Xolani Ndlovu, who was responsible for making the registration payment. Ndlovu, who was subsequently suspended from the party, has since gone to ground following the blunder.
"This week, we decided that we will approach the police to assist us look for him because we cannot find him."
He said the party’s former secretary general and national chairperson, Professor Nhlanhla Khubisa and Maliyakhe Shelembe, who subsequently resigned and then claimed to have withdrawn their resignation letters, were considered to be ordinary members of the party.
"If you resign from the party in public, you have resigned, it’s done."
The IEC’s KwaZulu-Natal chairperson, Mawethu Mosery, referred News24 to IEC national spokesperson Kate Bapela, as he was not aware of the latest developments.
Bapela was not immediately available to comment on the matter.