- The IEC says it is yet to decide if it is to take action against Helen Zille’s attack on the commission.
- The commission said attacks against its independence were worrying.
- Sy Mamabolo said they preferred to deal with the accusations against them regarding the reopening of candidate registration in court.
The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) says they are concerned about DA federal chairperson Helen Zille’s unsubstantiated attacks on the commission, but have not yet decided whether to take action against her.
Chief Electoral Officer, Sy Mamabolo, said the IEC may take action against Zille if she continued her attacks on the commission.
Zille accused the IEC of being captured by the ANC and had attacked the IEC’s decision to reopen candidate registration following the Constitutional Court judgment forcing elections to take place this year.
3) The ANC’s withdrawal from the Electoral Court indicates that they have been tipped off that the IEC’s application to postpone the election was successful. If information is leaking from the Concourt to the ANC, it is nothing short of an Constitutional crisis.
— Helen Zille (@helenzille) September 1, 2021
Mamabolo said that the IEC was yet to decide how to handle the matter.
“The commission is mindful of the decision of the Constitutional Court in the DA vs ANC matter (in relation to) the SMS Nkandla matter. Although split, the majority ruled that the DA expressed opinion,” he said.
Mamabolo said they would have to discern what is fair comment or misrepresentation, but if Zille persisted in her attacks on the IEC, they may have to consider taking action.
The Constitutional Court ruled in 2016 that the DA was within it rights when it said in an SMS that then President Jacob Zuma had stolen money.
It set aside a ruling by the Electoral Court that an SMS, sent to over 1.5 million voters, calling Zuma a thief, fell short of the test for fair comment.
Editorial | Why silly Zille is wrong on the judiciary
Mamabolo said attacks against the commission were worrying.
“The issue of attacks concern us obviously, especially from commentators and so on,” he said.
But he said the IEC opted to explain its case around reopening candidate registration to court.
The ANC appeared to be the biggest benefactor of the decision by the IEC as the party failed to meet the previous deadline of registering candidates in over 90 municipalities.
The DA has challenged the decision in court, with the IEC and ANC opposing the matter.
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