IEC ready for Tlokwe by-elections

2016-02-18 18:00
ANC supporters in Tlokwe. (Linda de Beer, Beeld)

ANC supporters in Tlokwe. (Linda de Beer, Beeld)

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Pretoria - The Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) says it is ready for by-elections in Tlokwe, in the North West.

Preparations have been under way since late 2015 to ensure all voters were registered and their addresses verified.

"The commission sent notices to the 1 040 persons who had been identified in its investigation in 2014 to have been incorrectly registered on the segments of the voters' roll for the affected voting districts, notifying them of its intention to remove their names from those segments of the roll," CEO Mosotho Moepya told reporters in Pretoria on Thursday. 

"Of these, 741 [people]... were removed from affected segments, 241 either re-registered themselves in new voting districts or were confirmed as registered in the relevant voting district; 50 were found to have been duplicate entries.”

The IEC was briefing the media on preparations ahead of the by-elections scheduled for February 24. The briefing followed concerns expressed by some independent candidates contesting the by-elections regarding the veracity of the voters roll.

Moepya said the IEC had taken the necessary steps to verify people’s addresses to ensure a smooth election on the day.

"The commission compared the remaining addresses furnished by voters whose names appeared on the segments of the voters’ roll for the affected voting districts against the National Address Database and identified 4 531 persons whose addresses possibly fell outside the voting districts in which they were registered," he said.

Following investigations, 1 601 people were notified of intentions to remove their names from segments of the voters’ roll, requesting them to make representations. After that process, only two people re-registered with the rest being placed in other segments.

By-elections are being held as a result of last year’s Constitutional Court judgment setting aside the previous by-elections conducted on September 12, 2013 in ward 18, and on December 10, 2013 in wards one, four, 11, 12, 13, and 20. The court ordered that they be re-run.

The applicants were eight independent candidates who had contested the by-elections.

The independent candidates included former ANC councillors expelled in July 2013 for participating in removing an ANC mayor.  

The ANC won all but one of the contested wards. In the judgment, the court said no political party was found to have been involved in the irregularities, and it did not mean the independents or the DA would have won the by-elections.

Before the elections, the candidates had lodged objections with the IEC over voter registrations in their respective wards.

In the December by-elections, the applicants complained of delays in receiving the segments of the national voters’ roll to be used for the by-elections.

These segments also did not include the residential addresses for any voters.

The candidates approached the Electoral Court for an order that the December by-elections be postponed, but the court was unable to convene to hear the application.

The by-elections went ahead and six of the candidates lost.

When the Electoral Court eventually heard the matter, the candidates said the IEC's own investigation had found the by-elections had not been free and fair and they should be set aside. The IEC opposed this.

The Electoral Court rejected the candidates' claims and dismissed the application.

The candidates argued in the Constitutional Court that the results in the wards should be set aside, relying on the irregularities that emerged from the IEC’s own investigation.

Moepya said on Thursday that they believed they had taken all reasonable measures to ensure the integrity of the upcoming elections. 

Read more on:    pretoria  |  politics  |  elections 2016

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