NFP to approach ConCourt to fight disqualification from elections

Durban - The National Freedom Party on Wednesday said it would be approaching the Constitutional Court to appeal against the Electoral Court’s decision to disqualify it from the August 3 local government elections.

NFP acting national chairperson Bheki Gumbi said in a statement that the party would be finalising its court papers on Friday and hoped to approach the court on Monday.

"We will be doing so because of our strong belief that the NFP's exclusion from the elections would render the elections unfair because over 1.2 million members and supporters of the National Freedom Party would not be able to exercise their constitutional right to vote.

"We are of the view that the Constitutional Court can come to a different conclusion from that of the Electoral Court, taking into account the public interest in this matter."

The NFP had challenged the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa's (IEC) decision to disqualify it, but lost its case in the Electoral Court on Saturday.

‘Dark day’

On Tuesday, 28 NFP members were arrested after they blockaded a busy road on the turn-off to Ulundi near Melmoth in KwaZulu-Natal. They were protesting against the party being disqualified after it failed to pay the registration fee by the June 2 deadline.

Gumbi said the party would try to persuade the Constitutional Court that it was only a few individuals in the party who were responsible for the blunder.

"We would persuade the ConCourt to take into account that it's not the NFP that failed to comply with the IEC processes, but it was a few individuals whom we had entrusted with the responsibility of dealing with this matter," said Gumbi.  

He said the NFP remained a big player in the political arena in SA and its exclusion would symbolise a dark day for the country.

"We also wish to call on our members and supporters to exercise restraint. We understand that the emotions are high at the moment, but we urge them to remain calm and allow all these processes to unfold.

"In the meantime, we would go on an extensive consultation drive, where we will meet our members and explain to them the whole situation and how we can best face it. The consultation process begins this Saturday," said Gumbi.

- Find everything you need to know about the 2016 Local Government Elections at our News24 Elections site, including the latest news and detailed, interactive maps for how South Africa has voted over the past 3 elections, or download the app for iOS and Android.

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