The deposits to be made by political parties wanting to contest the 2019 national and provincial elections will remain the same as they were in 2014‚ the Electoral Commission of SA said on Friday.
The commission said it had approved the deposit of R200‚000 for parties wishing to contest the national election and R45‚000 per provincial election contested.
This means a political party wanting to contest the national election and provincial elections in all provinces needs to deposit R605‚000 with the commission.
The commission said the retention of the same deposits from 2014 meant a significant reduction in the amount in real terms.
It said the final determination of the deposits by the commission followed the publication of the proposed amounts for public comment in October last year. The commission said 14 submissions had been received from political parties and other stakeholders.
“The submissions ranged between calls for an increase in the deposit amounts‚ retaining the proposed amounts‚ and a decrease or the scrapping of deposits‚” the commission said.
In making a determination of the final deposit amounts‚ the commission had considered all submissions along with local and international practice.
The commission said it sought to strike a judicious balance between an amount so high that it unfairly impaired the ability of potential electoral contestants and an amount so low that it failed to dissuade frivolous parties and made for an unwieldy and cluttered ballot paper.
In 2004 the amounts set were R150‚000 for contesting only the national election and R30‚000 for provincial elections.
This was increased to R180‚000 for the national election and R34‚000 for each province in 2009 and raised again to R200‚000 and R45‚000 in 2014.
The commission said despite the increases in the amount of deposits‚ the number of parties contesting national and provincial elections had steadily risen over the past 20 years while the number of parties which have won seats in the National Assembly has remained relatively constant.
The commission said 16 parties contested the national ballot in 1999. This increased to 21 parties in 2004‚ 27 in 2009 and 29 in 2014. However‚ the number of parties which won representation in the national assembly was 13‚ except in 2004 when there were 12 parties which won representation.
The commission said there were 285 political parties registered for the national election and a further 36 applications were currently under consideration.
It said in order to contest the elections‚ the political party must be registered with the commission‚ must submit a list of candidates and pay the relevant deposit within the specified period on the election timetable.
By: Ernest Mabuza
Source: TMG Digital.