FF Plus warns of continued legal battle with BLF

2019-05-06 15:46
Pieter Groenewald and Corné Mulder
The FF Plus's Peiter Groenewald and Corné Mulder announce their next step to have the BLF deregistered. (Jan Gerber/News24)

The Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) put the integrity of the upcoming elections at risk by registering the Black First Land First (BLF) as a political party without publishing their registration in the Government Gazette, FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald said on Monday.

Groenewald's party will continue with its battle to have the BLF deregistered.

Last week, the Electoral Court, sitting in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, set aside a decision by the IEC to dismiss the FF Plus' appeal against the BLF's registration. 

Chief presiding officer Judge Boissie Henry Mbha ruled that there had been a failure on the part of the IEC to publish the registration of the BLF in the Government Gazette.

The court did not look into the merits of the matter and ruled that the IEC publish the decision to register the BLF in terms of Section 15 of the Electoral Commission Act 51 of 1996.

On Monday, Groenewald said the FF Plus had already written to the IEC to determine when the registration of the BLF would be gazetted, at which point they would immediately lodge an appeal against it. 

"The FF Plus will proceed to lodge an appeal against the BLF's registration as soon as the notice appears in the Government Gazette. The party will not just let the matter go," Groenewald said.

"The FF Plus is still of the opinion that the BLF's registration as a political party is unlawful and thus its participation in the general elections on Wednesday is also unlawful."

He said this placed the integrity of the election in question.

'It threatens the freedom and fairness of elections'

He said, if the BLF were deregistered, they would lose any seats in Parliament or provincial legislatures they may possibly obtain, and the seat allocations would have to be recalculated. 

The FF Plus's problem with the BLF stems from the BLF's constitution only allowing black people to join the party.

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."

Section 16 (1)(c) of the Electoral Commission Act states that the chief electoral officer may not register a party if, among other things, that party "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".

"It comes down to the IEC's failure to comply with legislation. It may not be tolerated and it threatens the freedom and fairness of elections," Groenewald said.

According to Groenewald, there might be four more parties whose registration were not gazetted, but he didn't want to name them as it has not been confirmed.

Earlier on Monday, the Equality Court ruled that the  BLF's slogan "Land or Death" constituted hate speech.

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