Rejection of political party registration application

The Electoral Commission has written to ACTIONSA informing the party that its application to be registered as a political party has been rejected.

ACTIONSA was informed in writing yesterday of the failure of its application based on the similarity of its symbol or distinguishing mark to that of another party already registered as well as the fact the logo includes the South Africa national flag.

An existing party, Party of Action (POA), objected to the application of ACTIONSA on the basis that the proposed logo was “too similar” to its own. Section 16(1)(b) of the Electoral Commission Act (51 of 1996) provides that the Chief Electoral Officer may not register a party if its distinguishing mark or symbol resembles that of another registered party to such an extent that it may deceive or confuse voters.

Following research into the ballot paper design in 2018 which showed that voters use the party logo as the primary distinguishing identifier to select their party, more prominence has been given to party logos on the ballot paper to make it easier for voters to identify their party of choice and to limit votes cast inadvertently for other parties. 

The rejection was also based on the symbol of ACTIONSA containing the national flag as part of the symbol.

“Given that the national flag has been registered under the Heraldry Act 18 or 1962, no organization, institution or concern, including a political party, may use the flag or portion of the flag to form part of its emblem,” the Electoral Commission wrote.

The letter informed ACTIONSA that it has two options in response:
1. It may amend its symbol and publish a fresh notice of application; or
2. It may appeal to the Commission against the decision of the Chief Electoral Officer within 30 days.

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