Change Starts Now calls for transparent scrutiny of election signatures and ID requirements amid fraud concerns.

Change Starts Now calls for transparent scrutiny of election signatures and ID requirements amid fraud concerns.
Change Starts Now

Johannesburg, 9 May24: On February 29, 2024, new political party, Change Starts Now, made the decision not to contest the elections scheduled for May 29, 2024. This decision was informed by the determination of the Constitutional Court that a ruling on the signature requirement for unrepresented political parties in the upcoming election was not urgent. The party was also deeply concerned about the practical implementation of the new novel signature requirement for unrepresented parties.

The form in which the signature requirements were to be met was promulgated by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on February 2, 2024. The date to submit signatures as per the IEC electoral time-table was 8 March 2024. This onerous requirement, which forces parties to publicly disclose their supporters’ identities, also infringes upon the principle of ballot secrecy.

Change Starts Now emphasises that such stringent measures restrict electoral participation, undermining the democratic process. However, it opposes using these challenges as an excuse for any fraudulent activities involving signatures or ID numbers. Recent allegations of signature forgeries —now under police investigation—highlight potential abuses of this new requirement. Despite these allegations, the implicated party has been cleared to participate in the upcoming election, raising questions about the fairness and integrity of the application of the eligibility criteria to appear on the ballot.

Reports indicate that the IEC will not be undertaking any audit or verification processes of signatures or ID numbers submitted by new parties. Instead, this important task will be referred to parliament to deal with after the elections. It is evident that the new electoral law and regulations cannot be effectively enforced in a manner that guarantees the integrity of who appears on the ballot.

How will parliament deal with instances where a party/parties are found to have submitted fraudulent documentation to be on the ballot? Will parties found guilty be barred from parliament? Will elected members of parliament from a guilty party be expelled or disqualified from taking up their seats?  What happens to the votes of the electorate that unknowingly supported these parties?

Change Starts Now is committed to principles of fairness and dignity for all. This is the key to unlocking the true potential of South Africa’s Constitution, transforming it from an ideal to the cornerstone of a thriving, inclusive nation.

It believes that tackling signature fraud should not be postponed until after elections and calls for immediate and transparent investigations to prevent a possibly tainted election.

On April 17, 2024, Change Starts Now sought clarification from the IEC on the verification processes for the required signatures and IDs. It requested clarity on the processes applied to verify and audit the submission of the required number of names, identity numbers and signatures of voters appearing on the national segment of the voters’ roll and on the relevant provincial segment of the voters’ roll. To date, Change Starts Now has not received a reply from the IEC.

Change Starts Now calls for all signature and ID number submissions made to the IEC to undergo rigorous scrutiny by the Commission, with transparency ensured by making these submissions and findings available to the public and observers.

South Africa is a country of immense potential and promise. That is why the urgency with which we must address these issues has never been greater. Change Starts Now remains committed to the democratic project in South Africa and eagerly anticipates clarification from the IEC and relevant authorities regarding their plans to address potential signature and ID fraud prior to the elections. It is imperative that swift and decisive action be taken to safeguard the integrity of our electoral system and uphold the trust of the electorate.

Press Contact:

Mantis Communications

Kerry Simpson

Tel: 079 438 3252

Email: [email protected]