No legal basis to interdict election results - IEC responds to disgruntled smaller parties

2019-05-11 12:54
IEC voting station. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)
IEC voting station. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

Through a lawyer's letter seen by News24, the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has said there is no basis in law to interdict the declaration of the election results and that it will oppose any legal action.

This formed part of a response by the IEC to a number of smaller parties which have threatened to approach the courts to stop the results from being announced.

LIVE: Results for 6 districts outstanding, EFF takes official opposition spot in three provinces

The group of disgruntled parties is also calling for a full audit conducted by an independent firm and for the elections to be re-run.

Officials from the smaller parties believe that the elections were not free and fair, with some organisations, such as Black First, Land First and the African Content Movement, going as far to say that the elections were rigged.

READ: 'We are going to court' - smaller parties want an election rerun

Concerns over more than 20 people arrested for "double voting" led the smaller parties to believe the process was unfair. This has been disputed by the IEC, News24 reported earlier. 

In a lawyer's letter dated May 11, the IEC says that no irreparable harm can flow from declaring the results of the elections.

"The results have been made publicly available  in real time for the past few days and are widely known. No irreparable legal consequences flow from a declaration of the results by our client," the letter reads.

It further states: "Moreover, your clients have a range of statutory and litigation options to pursue should they genuinely be aggrieved by the commission's decision on any objections that they may have lodged or the commission's declaration of the results. All of this can still occur after the results have been declared."

The letter also argues that there is case law that holds the view that courts are not empowered to grant interdicts against the exercise of statutory and constitutional powers prior to these powers being exercised, rather that the appropriate challenge can be made after the exercise of powers has occurred.

READ MORE DA man in hot water for representing small parties against IEC

On Friday evening, News24 reported that Hans-Jurie Moolman, a DA councillor from Tlokwe in Potchefstroom, was the instructing attorney for 35 small political parties.

His firm, Moolman and Pienaar Incorporated, wrote to the IEC earlier on Friday, demanding that an independent firm audit cases of double voting and other alleged election irregularities.

Moolman had given the IEC until 11:00 on Saturday to appoint an independent audit firm to conduct an audit of the election, or it would pursue further legal steps which may include a court interdict to prevent the election results from being released.

It was still unclear whether the smaller parties have made good on their threat to go to court.

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