February 02, 2024

Party cries 'sabotage' as IEC requires 15k physical signatures to contest in national elections

Arise SA led by Mpho Dagada might not qualify for the elections
Pictures: AriseSA

They have been campaigning and recruiting youth to join their party and vote. The new political party, Arise SA formed in 2023 and led by former cryptocurrency expert, Mpho Dagada (30) fears they might not make it to the ballot paper as a new rule by the Independent Electoral Commision (IEC) requires political parties to have 15 000 physical signatures from registered members to be able contest in the national elections.




Arise SA's Gloria Morekhure tells ZiMoja that they are startled by the new changes. "The changes were random and seem like a way to sabotage us," she says. "The IEC brought forth new requirements that were not there previously, saying we need 15,000 physical signatures, not electronic. We are startled by this new development. All of a sudden. We have met the requirements upon registration, but now they are coming with something new and challenging."




Although there has not been a date set for elections, Morekhure says the expectations seem almost impossible as they might need to go door to door in suburbs, townships, and rural areas. "We registered and paid the fee. The rule was that any political party needs a minimum of 1000 people. Now they say its 15 000 signatures. They have been involving us in meetings because we are a party that is recognised," he says. "But this is unfair. It's pure sabotage. It means we are starting on zero. They are saying the signatures will not be considered until they are on hard copy." But Morekhure says, they are not phased and believe they will succeed. "This is another tactic to stop us, we are not phased, we are winning over young people. There are parties who intend to take them to court. Right now, we are preparing for our Manifesto in March, and we are not stopping doing the Lord's work."




Out of 350 political parties in the race to win the upcoming elections, 30 of the parties were registered in the last quarter of 2023. Yanga Malotana who is the Elections Project Manager at the University of Pretoria's ESI Press, says new and smaller political parties might struggle to make it to the national ballot. "A lot of the smaller parties are targeting young people, which is a growing number but still remains relatively low. Some might not survive due to financial implications only a social media following which doesn't translate to the push."

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