Judgment reserved in Tlokwe vote case

2015-01-12 19:58

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Johannesburg - The South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Monday reserved judgment in a case between independent candidates and the IEC regarding illegal voters in the 2013 Tlokwe by-elections.

"Judgment is reserved," Judge President Jerry Shongwe said.

Independent candidates are disputing the Electoral Commission of SA's (IEC) findings that only 1 040 people voted illegally in the by-elections. They argue the number was much higher.

Jaco Roux, for the applicants, said it was within the court's jurisdiction to issue an order for a forensic investigation into illegal voting.

Shongwe and Judge Lotter Wepener were not convinced, saying they did not think it was within the court's power to conduct an investigation into the voting irregularities.

They suggested Roux put the matter to the IEC as a proposal on how voter registration should be conducted in future.

Roux asked that the 2013 by-elections be set aside if it was found that the voter's roll was defective.

He said in many cases the roll did not contain proper physical addresses. Many voters had listed their addresses as "Marikana" with a house number, but no street name.

Additionally, Marikana did not fall within the wards of the Tlokwe municipality.

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

Marumo Moerane SC, for the IEC, argued there was no evidence of material irregularity.

"There's no evidence of mass fraudulent registration," he said.

There had been some irregular registrations spanning the nine wards, but this small number of illegal votes had not affected the by-election's outcome.

DA national spokesperson Marius Redelinghuys said the judgment would be important in light of the 2016 local government elections.

"A lot rests on the shoulders of this judgement to ensure the IEC has its house in order in time for the 2016 elections," he said.

Monday's proceedings had dissected critical issues on local government elections in general, including the IEC's internal processes, he said.

The judgment would contribute to the greater likelihood of free and fair elections, he said.


Read more on:    iec  |  johannesburg  |  tlokwe leadership battle  |  local government  |  politics

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