KwaZulu-Natal chief electoral officer Mawethu Mosery on Tuesday night confirmed the National Freedom Party (NFP) had been disqualified from the 2016 local government elections after failing to pay the electoral commission the required fees needed to participate on time.
Mosery said the IEC had not received the required payment of about R92 000 from the NFP for its candidates to contest the August 3 municipal polls in Kwazulu-Natal.
Nationally, it was not immediately known what the figure was, but would be dependent on how many municipalities the party planned to contest outside of KwaZulu-Natal.
Mosery said that a party that contested in every local municipality, district municipality and metro would have to pay R498 000.
The deadline for paying the fees was June 2.
“The NFP failed to pay during the stipulated timeframe and because they miss that deadline they have been disqualified,” said Mosery.
“This means that the NFP will not be part of local government after the August 3 elections results are announced,” he said.
He said the party could approach the electoral court or even the high court if unhappy with the IEC’s decision.
Mosery also said that 2 000 candidates from different parties had been disqualified from contesting the elections in KwaZulu-Natal.
Some had been disqualified to stand as candidates as they were not registered to vote, while others were not registered to vote in the municipalities where they were seeking election. And yet others did not even reach the required threshold of 50 signatures to enable them to be registered as candidates for the elections.
The NFP was formed in 2011, some three months before the local government elections in that year, when the former Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) chairwoman Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi left the IFP.
The party has been beset by rivalries ever since KaMagwaza-Msibi, who is also the country’s deputy science and technology minister, suffered a debilitating stroke in November 2014.
The NFP on Tuesday blamed its national treasurer for the “financial blunder”. He claimed that the party had the money, but it had “come in too late”.
“The NFP is disqualified,” KwaZulu-Natal electoral chief Mawethu Mosery confirmed.
“Some parties did not pay at all while others paid post the date, which was June 2. The NFP falls under this category, they didn’t pay before the deadline. Their registration fee came in much later,” Mosery said.
Speaking on Ukhozi FM’s current affairs on Monday evening, NFP general secretary Nhlanhla Khubisa said the party’s treasurer misunderstood the deadline for paying the registration.
Khubisa said that when the registration fee was paid, the IEC told them it was too late but advised the party to take the matter to the electoral court.
“This matter is now with the electoral court. When we discovered that our treasurer missed the deadline to deposit the money, we went to the IEC and the IEC said the matter was beyond its powers. They then referred us to the electoral court,” Khubisa said.
The NFP’s treasure is Xolani Ndlovu.
KaMagwaza-Msibi made her first major public address in 17 months when the party launched its manifesto at the Cecil Emmet Stadium in Vryheid in northern KwaZulu-Natal.
Magwaza-Msibi, who had been recovering from home since suffering the major stroke that left her in a coma for days in November 2014, could not read the manifesto launch speech and her daughter read it on her behalf.
Khubisa said that since the dispute between the party and the IEC was an ongoing matter, the party’s lawyers would be engaging the electoral court on Wednesday.
Khubisa moved to encourage the party’s supporters not to lose hope and dismissed suggestions that the NFP might be struggling with money.
– African News Agency (ANA)