Buthelezi wants chiefs poll halted

2012-02-08 00:00

IFP president Mangosuthu Buthelezi has filed an urgent application in the high court in Pietermaritzburg seeking the postponement of the upcoming traditional council elections in KwaZulu-Natal on February 19.

Papers were served this week on the provincial house of traditional leaders in KZN, the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) and MEC Nomusa Dube. The case is scheduled to take place on February 15.

Buthelezi seeks a declaratory order denouncing the preparation of the voters’ roll for the upcoming elections (by Cogta and the MEC) as being unlawful and to interdict them from holding the elections “until the relevant laws have been complied with”.

In an affidavit, Buthelezi maintains Cogta and Dube have failed to comply with the requirements of the KwaZulu Traditional Leadership regulations of 2006 and Chapter 2 of the Electoral Act of 1998 in preparing the voters’ roll for the elections which have been “fraught with problems”.

The election was previously postponed last November due to similar complaints.

Now Cogta and Dube had again failed to follow proper procedure, Buthelezi said.

He alleged as a result they have “failed to ensure a democratic process and to encourage greater participation” in the election.

“Although I do not have exact numbers, from what I have heard from the constituents within my traditional council I suspect that there will be a similarly low voter turnout in the current elections as there is very little (if any) knowledge on the ground of the upcoming election and of the procedure which must be followed in order to vote. This has been exacerbated by the fact that there are too few voter registration stations provided (only two in my area) and the period for registration is too short.”

He said the MEC responded to a letter sent to her on January 25 by challenging Buthelezi’s authority to act on behalf of the traditional council (which he chairs) and maintained he did not have the legal standing to bring a high court application affecting any traditional community other than his own.

She also denied there were irregularities in the election preparation procedure and declined to postpone the election.

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