Electoral Commission of SA chairman Glen Mashinini. Photo: Chantall Presence / ANA

Parliament - The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has asked the Constitutional Court for an extension of 17 months to verify the addresses of South Africans not recorded on the voters' roll, members of Parliament (MPs) were told on Tuesday.

Briefing Parliament's portfolio committee on home affairs, IEC senior manager on election matters, Granville Abrahams, said the commission had since the Constitutional Court had in 2016 ordered it to verify and add the addresses of registered voters to the roll, made significant progress, but wants to enfranchise more of the voting public.

"The commission had applied for an extension of 17 months to the Constitutional Court. That application was launched early last week to the court and in this application we have noted that we've made substantial progress," said Abrahams.

He said of the number of complete addresses added to the voters' roll increased from 34 percent in 2016 to 72 percent. The IEC were hoping to increase it to 78 percent by next month.

"The voters without addresses that the court has identified for us is currently sitting at less than three percent..."

Abrahams said Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng was yet to issue directions following their application. The 18 months deadline the court gave the commission comes to an end next month.

Meanwhile, IEC chairman Glen Mashinini said it was preparing to host elections between May 8, when the current term of office of MPs and members of provincial legislatures ends, and August 7 - the period during which the polls must take place. 

"We will not rest until we meet optimaly our obligations to the country and its people," said Mashinini.

"We are committed to ensuring that we deliver once more a free, a fair and credible election so that it continues to strengthen also the legitimacy of our elected representatives and democracy of our country."

Mashinini said the IEC commissioners would be meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday to discuss the timetable for the elections.

African News Agency/ANA