FF Plus again asks Electoral Court to deregister BLF

The Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) continues with its bid to prevent the Black First Land First (BLF) from participating in the upcoming elections.

The party announced on Tuesday that they will ask the Electoral Court to correct the Electoral Commission of South Africa's (IEC) "mistake" in registering the BLF. 

FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald said they would have a strong case, as the Electoral Commission Act prohibits the chief electoral officer from registering a party that excludes people from joining based on race, ethnicity and skin colour.

The BLF's constitution states: "Any black person who has reached the age of eighteen; accepts the politics, ideological perspective and Constitution of the BLF; joins a branch of the organisation and is prepared to work actively in it as part of the branch collective; is committed to honouring the organisation’s resolutions and decisions; accepts the organisation’s policy perspectives; commits herself/himself to being a disciplined member, and; is willing to pay the necessary membership fees may become a member of BLF.

"Blacks are those people who are by law and tradition politically, economically and socially discriminated against as a group and who see themselves as a unit in the struggle for liberation from white supremacy. In terms of this definition, the black people in South Africa are (as indicated by Steve Biko) those that come from the African communities, the so-called Coloured communities and so-called Indian communities."

READ: Black First Land First ‘will take up arms’ – Mngxitama

Section 16 (1)(c) of the Electoral Commission Act states the chief electoral officer may not register a party if "a proposed name, abbreviated name, distinguishing mark or symbol mentioned in the application or the constitution of the party or the deed of foundation mentioned… contains anything (i) which portrays the propagation or incitement of violence or hatred or which causes serious  offence to any section of the population on the grounds of race, gender, sex, ethnic origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture or language; or (ii) which indicates that persons will not be admitted to membership of the party or welcomed as supporters of the party on the grounds of their race, ethnic origin or colour".

Appeal dismissed

Last month, the FF Plus also initiated a case with the Electoral Court, but withdrew it shortly before the court date, because it didn't want to lose on a technical point, as it has not appealed to the IEC. It has since done that, but the IEC dismissed its appeal. 

According to FF Plus MP Wouter Wessels, the IEC dismissed their appeal without looking at the merits, and only looked at the time constraints and the "balance of convenience" ahead of the elections. 

"Convenience cannot overrule complying with legislation," Groenewald said.

According to Groenewald, a party which only allowed coloured members, had its registration declined by the IEC. He said everyone should be equal before the law.

He added that, even though the ballot papers were being printed, electoral legislation made provision that the votes a party received during the elections were not counted if that party was deregistered. 

According to Wessels, the FF Plus has lodged the founding affidavit, the IEC and BLF have filed their opposing affidavits and the FF Plus will file their heads of argument by Wednesday. They expect the case to be heard by the end of this week.

Last week, the BLF said in a statement, after the FF Plus's appeal failed and they lodged their court papers: "The land thieves with their tails behind their legs quietly appealed to the IEC when they realised they were going to lose badly in court. The IEC also dismissed their silly appeal. It is two for BLF and zero for land thieves. BLF is ready to serve in parliament and no land thieves can stop us. 

"The terrified land thieves are now back at the Electoral Court they had ran away from in the first place. They will again lose and it will be a 3–0 defeat. We are looking forward to yet another defeat of land thieves."

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