Postponed by-elections set to?be held soon

2013-10-11 00:00

THE three by-elections that had to be postponed after irregularities with voter registration were reported, will be held before the end of the year.

The KwaZulu-Natal Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) gave this undertaking yesterday.

The by-elections came after independent candidate André Lotter, the IFP and the ANC lodged complaints about people who were allegedly bused to register at the wards in Abaqulusi (Vryheid), Jozini (Mkuze) and kwaMashu (eThekwini).

They were initially scheduled for April 24, May 22 and July 3 in the various wards.

Both the IEC and a political analyst say the fraudulent voter registrations have the potential to compromise the integrity of the electoral process and credibility of the elections body, as well as delegitimise the outcomes of by-elections.

IEC provincial spokesperson Thabani Ngwira said yesterday a number of voters who should not have registered in the wards have been identified. “We are now following a process where they must make representation on why they registered there,” Ngwira said in reference to Abaqulusi and Jozini.

IEC provincial electoral officer Mawethu Mosery was recently quoted as saying about 300 people could be removed from the voters’ roll for the kwaMashu by-election and 500 people from Jozini.

According to Ngwira, the investigations are still underway in all three wards and legal processes were being followed on the findings made.

“The latter step allows voters to make representation to the commission. No decision has been taken by the commissioners,” he said.

“The investigation has not identified such people at this stage. This is an area which is also investigated by the police,” Ngwira added.

At Abaqulusi Municipality, 1 525 voters were found not to reside in Ward 22 and the by-election is still a subject of the Electoral Court, with Lotter wanting punitive measures imposed on the ANC and IFP for allegedly busing people.

The fraudulent voter registration remains a cause for concern to the IEC, with chairperson Pansy Tlakula recently telling the KZN legislature that the busing of voters was a “phenomenon that is developing in this country”, and called on all parties to help stem it.

“If we don’t, it has the potential of affecting the credibility and integrity of electoral process as a whole and the integrity and credibility of the electoral commission,” Tlakula said.

Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni said if people from outside the area of jurisdiction were allowed to vote in the ward, the by-elections could not be free and fair and the outcome would not be legitimate. He said eligible people were meant to vote in by-election in a ward where they resided.

This was unlike in the general elections where people could vote anywhere, as long as they have registered.

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