Director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy, Professor Steven Friedman, says the Electoral Court ruling was extreme.
The court ruled to disqualify the National Freedom Party (NFP) from participating in the upcoming local government elections. Friedman says this ruling denies people a right to vote for the party of their choice.
The country’s fifth-biggest political party failed to pay the required fees on time and so have been barred from participating.
The NFP has been out of action for more than a year, after its leader, Zanale KaMagwaza Msibi fell ill at the end of 2014. This may have lead to a leadership vacuum which created divisions within the party.
Friedman says the Constitutional Court will have to weigh up the missing of a deadline, against denying hundreds of thousands of people a choice to vote for their party.
The real value here is to make sure that South Africans convert to the party of their choice. There are other forms of punishment. If the party breaks the rules, you can fine them for example,than denying people the right to vote for them.— Professor Steven Friedman, Director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy
It seems to me to be pretty extreme to me to go from a situation where there is no punishment at all to the one you exclude a party from elections.— Professor Steven Friedman, Director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy
If I was arguing on behalf of the NFP, I would say if you want to extract the punishment, find some other punishment; fine us or insist that any officials involved can’t participate in the election or any sort of remedy, which will make the party pay the price for breaking the rules.— Professor Steven Friedman, Director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy
Listen to the full interview below...