No irregularity evident in Tlokwe vote, court hears

Johannesburg - There was no evidence of material irregularity in the 2013 Tlokwe municipal by-elections, the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg heard on Monday.

"Our main submission is that there is no such evidence of material irregularity," said Marumo Moerane SC, the advocate representing the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC).

Earlier, the applicants' lawyer Jaco Roux asked the court to set aside the results of the 2013 by-elections if it was found that the voters' roll was defective.

Roux argued that the voters' roll had not contained the addresses of the voters.

Independent candidates are disputing the IEC findings that only 1 040 people illegally voted in the 2013 Tlokwe by-elections. They argue the number was much higher.

The relief the applicants sought for the court to implement a forensic investigation into the by-elections and to set the results aside could not be granted, Moerane argued.

"Our submission is that the primary relief sought by the applicants cannot be granted. It would be usurping the functions of the commission.

"If it has clear proof of a material irregularity then the court would be in power to set aside [the 2013 by-election]," Moerane said.

"There's no evidence of mass fraudulent registration."

He said there were some irregular registrations spanning over nine wards and that the small number of illegal votes had not changed the outcome of the election.

Moerane said the voters' roll with voters' addresses was available to all political parties.

Judge Lotter Wepener said it was a "question of unease to see so many cases of irregularity on the voter role".

In his response, Roux said many voters had listed their addresses as "Marikana" with a house number.

He argued that these were not appropriate addresses as they did not include street names.

"If I say I live in house number 10, Pretoria, where is that?"

Wepener asked Roux if he had ever been into an informal settlement and argued that in many informal settlements people could be found by using their house numbers alone.

Roux then said that the generic area "Marikana" did not fall within the wards of Tlokwe municipality.

He said the applicants had a problem with voters being bussed in from other wards to vote in by-elections.

IEC officials should check the addresses on the voters' roll and that the demarcations were correct, he argued.

By-elections could not be free and fair if candidates were not able to verify the eligibility of voters.

Judge President Jerry Shongwe reserved judgment.

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