Election of Abaqulusi ward 22 councillor drags on

2013-09-09 00:00

RESIDENTS of ward 22 in the Abaqulusi Municipality will have to wait a little longer to elect their ward councillor because the outstanding by-election is still wrapped up in court processes.

This after former ANC councillor and Vryheid resident André Lotter scored another victory at the Constitutional Court last week over the alleged fraud in voter registration in Ward 22.

The by-election has been twice interdicted, in April and August, after Lotter approached both the Electoral Court and the Constitutional Court respectively.

In his last court action, Lotter lodged a leave to appeal an Electoral Court ruling, granted in April, which postponed the by-election and ordered an investigation in voter registration.

Although the Independent Electoral Commission conducted the investigation and found 1 525 voters were not resident at the ward, Lotter deemed the probe was inadequate because it did not impose sanctions on the ANC and IFP, whom he accuses of the fraudulent registration.

While the Constitutional Court refused the leave to appeal against the order of the Electoral Court, it ordered the Electoral Court to consider Lotter’s contention that the IEC’s investigation was inadequate. “The matter is remitted to the Electoral Court for it to consider whether, if the perpetrators of the fraud become known, sanctions or penalties prescribed by law should be imposed,” the court order read.

Commenting on the ruling, Lotter said the court’s outcome was an important step towards the achievement of free and fair elections in South Africa.

ANC spokesperson Senzo Mkhize said the ruling party accepted the judgment of the Constitutional Court, and that they would not have a problem with processes of the IEC investigation and action taken against those behind the alleged voter registration fraud.

IFP spokesperson Joshua Mazibuko would not comment about the Constitutional Court ruling, saying the party would rather wait for the law to take its legal course.

The IFP has in its court papers denied involvement in any form of electoral fraud in the run-up to the Abaqulusi by-election.

Ward 22 was previously led by Lotter, who resigned from the ANC and attempted to stand as an independent, but an IEC official refused to accept his nomination form on April 3, the cut-off date, because he had cash instead of a bank-guaranteed cheque.

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