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Monday, 08 July 2024 22:30

Electoral Court issues new directives as ATM forge ahead with vote rigging case.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The Electoral Court has issued a directive to 19 political parties to file answering affidavits by Wednesday, in the application to have the 29 May general elections declared unlawful and set aside.

This after the African Transformation Movement (ATM) launched an application with the Electoral Court.

In a directive dated July 8, the court instructed respondents to file their answering affidavits by no later than 4pm on Wednesday, July 10.

The court in its directive stated: "The applicant (the ATM) is directed to file the replying affidavit by no later than 16:00 on Friday, 12 July 2024. The court reserves the right to dispose of this matter on the papers without referral to (an) oral hearing. Further directives will be issued if necessary."

ATM followed in the MK party's footsteps in filing an application challenging the outcome of the elections and demanding a rerun. 

Last month, the constitutional court dismissed MK's application to interdict the first sitting of parliament, saying the party had failed to produce "facts to establish a prima facie case in respect of the relief it will seek".

Last week the party issued a notice of withdrawal to the court in its application against the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

MK party spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndhlela said the party was still of the firm view that the election results were not credible, free or fair.

Ndhlela accused the IEC of failing to perform credible forensic audits of its election system, adding that the MK party had gained further evidence of election irregularities and vote rigging.

"We have, however, also been advised by our legal counsel that there are procedural and technical issues that will be further brought to the fore to present such evidence before the application can be adjudicated upon by way of a new application to set aside the election results and the declaration thereof by the IEC, "he said.

Ndhlela said the withdrawal was in no way an indication that the party did not have a compelling case and that it was determined to file papers.

ATM leader Vuyo Zungula said despite the MK party's decision to withdraw its application, his organisation will continue with its own bid.

In its founding affidavit, Zungula argued that the party had been "the victim of miscalculations, vote rigging and voter corruption".

The ATM is yet to provide the court with its evidence of vote rigging and electoral fraud allegations against the commission and possible collusion with the ANC.

Meanwhile the IEC has asked the Electoral Court to refuse to accept the MK Party's withdrawal of its court case to set aside the elections, saying the party made "serious allegations" about the credibility of the election.

"It is an absolute imperative that the matter is ventilated publicly and a final decision be made by the Electoral Court, at the very least to confirm whether the allegations against the electoral commission were made vexatiously and without just cause," said the IEC's attorney Moeti Kanyane.

Kanyane said the MK Party had also not offered to pay for the wasted costs of the litigation, "which it was required to do". In this case, a punitive costs order against the MK Party was warranted, he said.

The party was also obliged to get permission from the court to withdraw the case because the court had issued directions in it. 

When the MK Party withdrew the case it sent a letter to the court saying it would be back again soon and the case was only being withdrawn "for now". The party still believed the elections were not free and fair.