IEC postpones all by-elections

Pretoria - The Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) has postponed all by-elections in the country as it battles to provide a voters' roll that has people’s correct addresses.

It took the decision as it was still not clear whether the absence of voters’ addresses would render the roll, and results of any by-elections, invalid, spokesperson Kate Bapela said in a statement on Monday.

Among those by-elections affected by the postponement were those scheduled for Wednesday, 6 April.

The moved followed an Electoral Court ruling on 23 February postponing by-elections in Tlokwe that had been scheduled for the following day. This followed a Constitutional Court ruling last year that by-elections in the embattled municipality were not free and fair, and had to be re-run.

Independent candidates competing in Tlokwe argued that the IEC had not complied with the Constitutional Court ruling.

Also postponed were by-elections scheduled for KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, North West, and the Western Cape.

The IEC approached the Constitutional Court to appeal the Electoral Court’s ruling. Bapela said they would review the postponement of by-elections once the Constitutional Court had provided clarity on the matter.

The IEC’s decision would also be informed by this year’s municipal elections which, in terms of the Constitution, had to be held between 18 May and 16 August.

On Friday, the IEC met the minister of co-operative governance and traditional affairs and provincial MECs to discuss the postponement. The IEC pointed out that the results of any by-elections risked being set aside pending clarity on the need for addresses on the voters’ roll from the Constitutional Court.

Bapela said about two-thirds of registered voters currently had partial, or no address details on the roll. She encouraged voters to confirm their addresses during the next voter registration weekend on April 9 and 10.

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