IEC only obliged to provide voter addresses it has, ConCourt hears

2016-05-09 12:13

Johannesburg - The Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) is only obliged to provide the addresses of voters which it already has in its possession, the Constitutional Court heard on Monday.

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Wim Trengove, for the IEC, argued it was not the commission's job to verify addresses, although it had always been obliged to confirm that voters were registered in the correct district.

"We accept that the IEC may only register voters in districts where they are ordinarily residents," Trengove said.

"A name on the roll without an address does not imply irregular registration."

He said that before 2003, the IEC was not required to keep addresses of voters and had no duty to go back and find the addresses of those people already on the roll.

Tlokwe ruling

The IEC filed an application with Constitutional Court in April, asking it to set aside an Electoral Court ruling which it said could see millions of people disqualified from voting.

On November 30 last year, the Constitutional Court ruled that the 2013 Tlokwe by-elections were not free and fair. The court ruled that all new voters who registered had to have address details, or sufficient details of where they lived, to place them in a voting district.

The by-elections were scheduled to be re-run in February this year. The Electoral Court however halted them at the last minute after six independent candidates complained that more than 4 198 addresses were missing from the new voters' roll. Subsequently several other by-elections around the country were postponed.

The IEC was arguing that, should the Electoral Court judgment stand, the August 3 local government elections would not be able to go ahead. This was because it could not provide addresses for 7.9 million voters who were registered but whose addresses were not on the IEC’s system.

Read more on: iec  |  local elections 2016