The IEC made R16.7 million for SA from the massacre of minor parties in the 2019 elections

Business Insider SA
Election results
  • Parties paid a R200,000 deposit to contest national elections, and R45,000 for each province they contested. That money is forfeited to the National Revenue Fund if they fail to win any seats.
  • Thanks to a massacre of small parties in 2019, forfeits total R16.7 million – more than double the money the IEC made for the Republic in 2014.
  • Gauteng and Limpopo were the joint winners as provinces with the largest number of failures, each earning the IEC R1.35 million.
  • The IEC spent only R2.7 million on the indelible ink pens at the centre of a controversy.
  • For more, go to Business Insider SA.

* This article has been updated.

The 2019 national and provincial election has earned South Africa's National Revenue Fund R16.7 million thanks to the massacre of minor parties.

Each party was required to pay a R200,000 deposit to contest the election for the National Assembly, and another R45,000 for each of the provinces where they wished to appear on the ballot, a total of R605,000 for those who wished to contest every province and nationally.

The deposits are forfeited in every election where a party fails to secure a seat – and there were a record number of parties that failed to cross that bar in 2019.

Had the IEC not given parties an effective 33% discount on the deposits required, by increasing them well below the rate of inflation, small parties would have subsidised the government to the tune of R22.2 million.

See also: SA parties just got an effective 33% discount to register for the 2019 elections

The national election had the largest number of failed parties at 34, but Limpopo and Gauteng each came close with 30 parties on the ballot with not a single seat won between them. The Northern Cape saw the smallest number of failures at 17.

This is how the election deposits forfeited stack up to the total of R16.7 million, which now goes to South Africa's general account:

2019 election deposits forfeited by small parties

The total is slightly over 100% more than the deposits that were lost in the last general election in 2014, which netted government coffers R8.28 million.

Though the deposits loom large for some small parties, the forfeited amounts are tiny in relation to the IEC's overall budget for the election. Yet the big increase suggest that, had the lost deposits gone back to the IEC instead of into the general account, the commission could have afforded to cut slightly less deeply as it sought to contain costs. The difference between the 2014 and 2019 forfeits would have been enough for the IEC to pay three times as much as it did for the indelible ink pens that drew complaints for not being all that indelible after all.

See also: The pens that marked voter thumbs cost millions - here's why their secret ink may have failed

The total tender cost of the supply of those pens, including those used in previous by-elections, came to R2.7 million.

* This article has been updated throughout to make it clear that forfeited deposits go not to the IEC, but to the National Revenue Fund.

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