Durban – A Constitutional Court ruling on the by-elections in North West's Tlokwe Local Municipality could disenfranchise voters in by-elections to be held in KwaZulu-Natal soon, a political analyst said on Friday.
"This will mean that they won't be able to vote in the by-elections and in future," University of KwaZulu-Natal political science lecturer Zakhele Ndlovu said at the IEC's regional results centre in Durban.
IEC provincial chairperson Mawethu Mosery said the commission had received a report that several candidates had died in the run-up to the elections.
He said the candidates remained on the ballot papers and if they won the wards they contested, there would be by-elections. However, people's physical addresses would first have to be included on the voters' roll.
The Constitutional Court ruled on June 14 this year that the IEC's failure to compile a voters' roll with addresses was inconsistent with the Constitution, and therefore invalid.
It suspended the declaration of invalidity until June 30, 2018, meaning that the August 3 elections could go ahead with an incomplete voters' roll. For Tlokwe however, the IEC had to get voters' addresses in time for Wednesday's elections.
Voters, political parties 'disenfranchised'
Ndlovu said people living in informal settlements could be disenfranchised by the ruling. Those who were renting in such areas would need to prove that that was indeed where they lived.
The ruling could not be overturned because the Constitutional Court was the highest court in the land.
"It really complicates things and I am not sure how they will go around it."
Ndlovu anticipated that political parties would challenge the matter.
"This will not only disenfranchise the voter, but the political parties as well."
Ndlovu predicted that as a result of the ruling the number of people on the voters' roll, and therefore the number of those eligible to vote, would decrease.