Elections 2021: IEC blunder gives ActionSA chair a sleepless night over Gauteng candidates

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Top left: Michael Beaumont, Funzela Ngobeni, Lerato Ngobeni, David Tembe, Vivien Law, Abel Tau. Bottom Left: Vytjie Mentor, John Moodey, Herman Mashaba, Gillian Benson, Makhosi Khoza.
Top left: Michael Beaumont, Funzela Ngobeni, Lerato Ngobeni, David Tembe, Vivien Law, Abel Tau. Bottom Left: Vytjie Mentor, John Moodey, Herman Mashaba, Gillian Benson, Makhosi Khoza.
  • ActionSA's candidates were omitted from the IEC's candidates list for Gauteng.
  • According to the party, this was a clerical error on the side of the IEC, and it will be corrected.
  • ActionSA's own polling puts it ahead in Johannesburg.

What appeared to have been a clerical error on the part of the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) gave ActionSA national chairperson Michael Beaumont an uneasy night's rest on Wednesday.

This after ActionSA's candidates were omitted from the IEC lists for Gauteng – the province where the party has its strongest foothold.

"I have lost a little sleep last night," Beaumont admitted on Thursday morning, laughing with relief.

ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba
ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba delivering the party's inaugural manifesto on 22 September 2021.

However, after they contacted the IEC, his peace of mind was restored. It appeared that there had been a clerical error on their side, and that the correct lists would be published later on Thursday.

He said they had taken the IEC's assurance in good faith and had full confidence that it would be corrected.

Beaumont said it was "imperative to note" that ActionSA had complied fully with the IEC's deadlines and paid all fees for its candidates who will be contesting the municipal elections in Johannesburg, Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, eThekwini, KwaDukuza and Newcastle on 1 November.

The IEC said it is aware of the matter. "We have been working together with political parties concerned and when conclusion is reached we will update the candidate list," a spokesperson for the commission said. 

READ | ActionSA plans legal challenge against IEC's Multiparty Democracy Fund

Former DA mayor of Johannesburg Herman Mashaba's fledgling party was feeling bullish going into the local elections in Johannesburg.

Their own polling showed that ActionSA had the biggest support in the hotly contested metro, with 31.7%, followed by the ANC with 30.5%, compared to the 44% of its vote in the 2016 municipal elections. The DA had 24% support, according to ActionSA's poll, compared to the 38% it got in 2016. The EFF had 7.3%, compared to the 11% it acquired in 2016.

Typically, political parties play their polling cards close to the chest, but Beaumont said in a statement that ActionSA considered it wise to release this information given the tendency to model municipal elections on a national level rather than specific municipalities.

He said:

It is also critical to demonstrate to South Africans just how far established political parties are declining.

He said the poll found an "alarming" number of respondents who said they intended to stay away from the ballot stations come 1 November.

"This produces a level of volatility in polling due to the changes in the likely-to-turn-out segment of the population," he said.

"We are pleased but not surprised by what the polling demonstrates. While established parties want to try and tell voters that they are the only party capable of removing governments, this is patently incorrect," Beaumont said.

This report has been updated to include a response from the IEC. 

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