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Refereed articles

The application of the doctrine of Res Judicata in political rights cases: National Freedom Party v Electoral Commission and Others (2016) – pg. 192

The South African Constitution provides for the right of every citizen to free and fair regular elections. This right is often enjoyed through the instrumentality of political parties, which are the vehicles through which most candidates come to hold office. This constitutional right is further given effect to by various pieces of legislation, including the Electoral Commission Act 51 of 1996 and the Local Government: Municipal Electoral Act 27 of 2000. These Acts prescribe certain prerequisites for political parties to meet prior to being allowed to participate in elections. One such requirement is the payment of an electoral deposit to the Electoral Commission. In 2016, the National Freedom Party failed to make such payment, leading to its name not being included in the list of political parties eligible for the elections. The Party in its initial application unsuccessfully approached the Electoral Court for a remedy. A few days later, the Party lodged a second application on the same set of facts, thereby prompting the Court to invoke the principle of res judicata. This case note analyses the decision of the Court in the light of the principle of res judicata and the powers of the Electoral Court and the Electoral Commission.

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