ATM president Vuyolwethu Zungula. (Supplied)
In a turn of events, the African Transformation Movement (ATM) has backed out of court action by 27 disgruntled small parties against the Electoral Commission's (IEC) election process.
ATM head of policy Mzwanele Manyi held a media briefing on Saturday just hours before the IEC was scheduled to announce the official close of the election period saying the party was endorsing the elections.
The ATM was in part one of the prominent member parties leading the objections against the IEC. Manyi's party, which was launched in October last year, is set to go to parliament after earning three seats.
The 26 other parties are demanding a recount of the elections after 24 people were arrested for double voting.
The arrests and objections by the parties led to the IEC conducting a sample audit to find out the extent of the problem.
The IEC on Friday night told the media that 1020 voting stations would be handed over to the statistician general to run an independent audit.
This however did not satisfy the smaller parties who demanded an independent firm outside of government structures run the sample audit.
READ: No legal basis to interdict election results -IEC responds to disgruntled smaller parties
35 parties through their legal team wrote to the IEC giving it until 11:00 on Saturday to appoint an independent audit firm or face legal actions. Eight parties later withdrew from the court case.
The IEC refused to bow down to pressure, the commission said in a statement.
"The statistician general today adequately satisfied the ATM that a need for an independent audit has been tolerably addressed. The ATM is satisfied that the IEC has acted in good faith and professionally and answered to its institutional demands that it has been carrying out continuously since its inception," Manyi said.
The 26 disgruntled parties are insisting they will continue their legal action against the IEC. The smaller parties who were being represented by DA councillor attorney Hans-Jurie Moolman, said they had retained other legal counsel. This is after Moolman withdrew as attorney of record.
READ: DA man withdraws as attorney of record for small parties tackling election results
Representing the smaller parties African Content Movement's Romeo Ramuada said Manyi was a 'sell out'. He said the ATM was only backing out of the legal action because "it had won seats in parliament."