DA caucus leader represented Tlokwe independent candidates in court

2016-02-24 15:31
ANC supporters in Tlokwe. (Linda de Beer, Beeld)

ANC supporters in Tlokwe. (Linda de Beer, Beeld)

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Johannesburg - DA Tlokwe caucus leader Hans-Jurie Moolman feels there is no conflict of interest in his acting as a lawyer for independent candidates contesting by-elections in the area.

Moolman represented candidates who approached the Electoral Court on Tuesday, in a bid to postpone the by-elections because of concerns with the voters' roll.

The independent candidates included former ANC councillors expelled in July 2013 for participating in removing ANC mayor Maphetle Maphetle.

"The premise from which we deal with this matter is that it's not a political tactic or anything to that effect," Moolman said on Wednesday.

"This is about our Constitution, which should be the common denominator for political parties and all citizens. That was the accord of 1994, so this case does not involve politics. It involves a legal principle and principles of a constitutional democracy, and on the other side free and fair elections."

Moolman said the independent candidates approached him to represent them.

"Being a councillor is not my permanent work. I've got my own law firm and I've done this on the instruction on the basis of the fact of the legal principle."

By-elections postponed

The Electoral Court sitting in Johannesburg on Tuesday ordered that six by-elections to be held in Tlokwe be postponed for six weeks.

The independent candidates accused the Electoral Commission of SA of not complying with a Constitutional Court ruling to explain how the addresses of voters should be placed on the voters’ roll.

The by-elections, which were scheduled for Wednesday, were meant to be held following last year’s Constitutional Court judgment that set aside the previous by-elections, which took place on September 12, 2013 in Ward 18, and on December 10, 2013 in Wards one, four, 11, 12, 13 and 20.

The ANC won all but one of the contested wards in those by-elections. The court ordered that they be re-run.

Before the elections, the candidates had lodged objections with the IEC over voter registrations in their respective wards.

In the December by-elections, the applicants complained of delays in receiving the segments of the national voters’ roll to be used for the by-elections. These segments did not include the residential addresses for any voters.

Moolman on Wednesday said his clients hoped the problems with the voters' roll would be resolved so the by-elections could go ahead.

People registered in wards should be residents of those wards.

“That's in essence what it's about,” he said.

Following the Electoral Court's decision, the IEC decided to postpone all of Wednesday’s by-elections. The others were scheduled in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, North West, and the Western Cape.

All by-elections shared similar circumstances as those for which a postponement was ordered, the IEC said in a statement.

ANC expresses concern

The ANC on Wednesday expressed concerns about the implications of the Electoral Court's decision. Spokesperson Zizi Kodwa questioned whether it would disenfranchise those living in informal settlements.
The party would seek legal advice on how to proceed.

The DA said it was incumbent upon the IEC to give effect to the Electoral Court’s ruling or approach the Constitutional Court for direction on how it could be resolved in time for the local government elections.

If the IEC failed to do this, the DA would seek a declaratory order from the Constitutional Court to get legal certainty on the commission's readiness, DA federal executive chairperson James Selfe said.

"It is deeply unfortunate that we find ourselves in this situation that can only be laid at the feet of the ANC who have persistently exploited loopholes in the electoral system to win votes, which requires special attention of its own.

"We will therefore be asking the IEC to deal specifically with instances of fraudulent electoral conduct," said Selfe.

The IFP did not believe that all by-elections should have been postponed at the last minute, as an enormous amount of resources had been spent on preparing for them.

IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi said it appeared to be a nonsensical decision.

"The only explanation is that electoral fraud and corruption are so pervasive, beyond Tlokwe, that none of these by-elections would have been free and fair."

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  ifp  |  pretoria  |  local elections 2016

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