Herman Mashaba during his interview with News24.
- The IEC has rejected the registration application of political party Action SA, led by Herman Mashaba.
- The party plans to appeal the decision.
- Action SA chair Michael Beaumont said the IEC’s decision was regrettable.
Newly launched party Action SA has threatened to lodge an appeal after the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) rejected its application to register as a political party.
It says its registration is legitimate.
Speaking to News24 on Tuesday, Action SA national chairperson Michael Beaumont said its application for political party status was rejected on the basis of a perceived similarity to another political party and the use of the South African flag in its logo.
He said the political party referred to, Party of Action, changed its name to Party of Action South Africa a day after Action SA was launched on 29 August.
Beaumont said Action SA, the party led by former Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba, has written to the IEC to appeal the decision.
“It is a fact that there are over 630 political parties in South Africa, of various registration statuses. The notion that similarities exist is a natural consequence of this situation, but cannot be seen to rise to the required level of voters not being able to notice the distinction. The IEC’s decision in this matter is regrettable, and inconsistent,” he said in a statement.
Beaumont added: “It is important to note that the IEC, as a Chapter 9 Institution, has no legal authority to decline an application outside of its specific parameters of Section 16 of the Electoral Commission Act of 1996, which deals specifically with a political party’s identity either being similar to that of another party to the extent that it would confuse voters, or engender violence through hate speech.
“By including this in the rationale for their decision, the IEC has applied legislation to Action SA that has not been applied to any number of political parties whose logos draw inspiration from the South African flag. This is a clear case of the IEC acting beyond its legal mandate,” the statement reads.
Action SA’s chairperson compared the ANC and AIC which were allowed to register despite great similarities. He added that this would be included in the party’s appeal.
He said: “Our logo is derived from The People’ s Dialogue, a process in which millions of South Africans legitimised the formation of Action SA. We have filed a trademark application with the Registrar of Trademarks and we will defend the identity of Action SA without hesitation. We are disappointed by the position of the IEC, and trust that it will come around to make the correct decision in the appeal process without this matter having to proceed to court.”