Sanity must prevail at ConCourt over elections - Van Rooyen

2016-05-03 14:05

Cape Town – It was hoped that "sanity will prevail" in the Constitutional Court next week, as postponing the elections was not an option, Co-operative Governance Minister Des van Rooyen said on Tuesday.

Postponing the August 3 local government elections would require a constitutional amendment, which was not an option, he told media in Parliament.

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Next Monday, the court will hear arguments on the status of those voters whose addresses were not on the voters’ roll.

Van Rooyen outlined several scenarios, including the possibility of those without addresses not being allowed to vote in the local government elections.

Around 12 million registered voters did not have addresses on the voters roll, the department said.

"Hence, we still have hope in our justice system, and as we go to court we think that sanity will prevail and this matter will be clarified in court," Van Rooyen said.

They hoped voters would not be disenfranchised or deprived of their democratic right to vote.

"But we are not looking at option to postpone the elections," said Van Rooyen.

The need to have voters’ addresses was an attempt to comply with a Constitutional Court ruling that by-elections held in Tlokwe in 2013 were not free and fair.

The ruling was handed down in November last year. 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.

In February this year, the Electoral Court again halted the Tlokwe by-elections after six independent candidates complained that more than 4 198 addresses were missing from the new voters' roll.

Subsequently, the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) postponed several other by-elections around the country.

The IEC then approached the Constitutional Court to seek clarity on the ruling, including the question of whether lack of addresses would invalidate the roll.

Cogta said geo-coding was a second option, although it was a time-consuming exercise.

Deputy Minister Andries Nel said this would mean providing people in mostly informal settlements with identifiers, as opposed to formal addresses.

Van Rooyen said it would be a mammoth task.

Read more on: iec  |  des van rooyen  |  local elections 2016