Political party says voters should be able to recall public servants

DUP President Tonic Manchidi heads to Concourt to challenge Electoral Act. Picture: Supplied

DUP President Tonic Manchidi heads to Concourt to challenge Electoral Act. Picture: Supplied

Published Apr 4, 2024


If South Africans are allowed to decide who to vote into power, they must also be given the right to recall persons who fail to do what is mandated by the people.

These were the sentiments of the newly formed Democratic Union Party’s (DUP’s) president, Tonic Manchidi, a former member of Forum 4 Service Delivery and the Land Party, after his party lodged an urgent application in the Constitutional Court.

Manchidi said although his party would not be contesting the national elections on May 29, this was partly due to them challenging the constitutionality of the Electoral Act.

According to the party president, his party believed that parts of the Electoral Act 73 of 1998, as amended by the Electoral Laws Amendment Act of 2023, were inconsistent with the Constitution.

This as he explained how they believed the act understated the right to vote to the extent that it did not provide mechanisms and systems to ensure accountability, responsiveness and openness by public representatives to voters.

“The Electoral Act and the Constitution guarantee and encourage voters to exercise their right to vote but there is no mechanism to hold those elected to account to the very same voters, instead the power is given to the party.

“The inability to remove public servants servicing their own interests is the reason why in almost all provinces there are service delivery protests and shutdowns as voters are unable to complain whenever there are grievances,” Manchidi said.

Manchidi added that the act did not provide mechanisms and procedures for voters to cancel the contractual relation they had with elected representatives.

The party has also dragged the conduct of the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) into court, alleging the institution had abdicated its constitutional and statutory duties under the Electoral Act by failing to honour its obligations pertaining to voter education.

“It is the mandate of the IEC to provide voters with education and inform them of the changes brought by the Amendment of the Electoral Laws Act of 2023 and that has not been done.”

In its application, the party cited President Cyril Ramaphosa, the Speaker of the National Assembly, the chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, the Minister of Home Affairs and the Electoral Commission.

Manchidi said that due to the Presidency ignoring the unconstitutionality of the act despite being alerted to it in early February, they had decided to take the matter to court.

“The fact of the matter is that the right to vote is sacrosanct and must be treated as such. If we have a right to vote then we must be afforded the right to recall you and save much needed state resources.

“We may not be contesting the elections this year but ours is to say let us put things in order and give the power back to the people and then we can move forward,” Manchidi said.