News

IEC heads to ConCourt to ensure elections go ahead

2016-03-16 16:58

The Independent Electoral Commission has filed an application at the Constitutional Court, asking it to set aside a ruling made by the Electoral Court that could see 65% of the voting population disqualified from voting.

The IEC has filed an application at the Constitutional Court seeking leave to appeal the judgment of the Electoral Court. Failing that, the IEC seeks direct access to the court to ensure that local government elections can take place this year.

The woes of the IEC began last year on November 30 when the Constitutional Court ruled that the Tlokwe by-elections of 2013 were not free and fair.

The by-elections were scheduled to take place in February this year but were postponed following a ruling by the Electoral Court when independent candidates filed an urgent application to prevent the by-elections from happening. They claimed that the IEC had failed to guarantee free and fair elections because they had been provided with an incomplete voters' roll.

The IEC was arguing that, should the judgment that prevented by-elections from taking place stand, elections would not be able to go ahead this year or in 2019 because it would be impossible for the IEC to provide addresses for 7.9 million voters who were registered to vote but whose addresses were not held on the IEC systems.

This meant that 65% of the voting population could be disqualified from voting because they had no formal addresses.

The IEC said that the Electoral Court judgment seemed to suggest that those who were registered, but whose addresses were not held by the IEC were no longer able to stay on the voters roll.

In the direct access application, the IEC was looking for an order allowing the 2016 local elections to take place by August 16 2016.

The IEC was also seeking an order directing it to take reasonable measures by June 30 2020 to obtain addresses for affected voters.

Respondents in the matter include the MEC for local government and human settlements of the North West province, the DA, ANC, Tlokwe municipality, and ministers of home affairs and cooperative government and traditional affairs. 

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