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THE Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in KwaZulu-Natal is again preparing to remove hundreds of people from the voters roll for two by-elections, in what is another major discovery of incidents of electoral fraud in the province.
An estimated 800 people are expected to be removed from the voters roll of by-elections scheduled for KwaMashu and Jozini respectively.
IEC provincial electoral officer Mawethu Mosery said it was estimated that about 300 people could be removed from the voters roll for the KwaMashu by-election and 500 people could be removed from the Jozini (Ward 4) by-election’s roll.
The two by-elections were initially scheduled for July 3 and May 22, respectively. In both instances political parties taking part in the elections had lodged complaints with the IEC after some irregularities were reported to them.
Mosery said: “We are at the last stages of the investigations and within the next two weeks we would be removing some people from the voters roll.”
He said the commission would also be forwarding these cases to the police for further investigations.
Mosery said once these individuals were removed, the IEC would continue with planning for the by-elections.
It is believed that the people in question might have been irregularly registered in that they registered outside of their residential areas, and could have been bused in from other areas to bolster numbers in the contested wards.
The commission has already expressed concerns about the growing number of electoral fraud cases in KZN.
The IEC indicated last month that the affected people had already been served with letters.
This followed an intensive investigation by the commission into irregularities in the registration of voters at KwaMashu and Jozini. The findings in these two by-elections come after 1 500 people were excluded from voting in a by-election at Abaqulusi (Vryheid) Municipality.
This election has been postponed on two occasions – first in April and then in August – after former ANC councillor at Abaqulusi, Andre Lotter, approached the Electoral Court and Constitutional Courts respectively to contest the legality of the by-election.
Lotter had based his arguments on allegations that over 2 800 people had been fraudulently registered in that ward.
He first scored a victory in the Electoral Court, which ordered that the IEC investigate his claims. He then approached the Constitutional Court, saying he was not satisfied that no sanctions had been imposed on those who were behind the busing of people into his ward.
Lotter also wanted an independent body to be appointed to investigate the claim.
Last week, the Constitutional Court referred the matter back to the Electoral Court, which would have to pronounce on whether the IEC had properly investigated voter irregularities, and whether any sanctions should be imposed on those behind the busing of voters.
Mosery said the IEC would be guided by the Electoral Court on how to proceed with regards to that election. - Daily News