IEC confident of voter addresses progress approval
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Johannesburg - The Electoral Commission of SA has expressed confidence that the Constitutional Court will accept its progress in relation to the outstanding addresses on the national voters roll.
Last year, the apex court gave the IEC until the end of this month to secure and place all the addresses on the national voters roll that were reasonably available after 2003.
This was the date on which the Electoral Laws Amendment Act brought into effect new requirements for the voters roll.
Previously, the commission was declared by the court to have acted inconsistently with its legal obligations in 2016, prior to that year’s local government elections, after the IEC was found to have failed to collect all the addresses of eligible voters.
The court repeatedly suspended its judgment from taking effect amid requests for extensions by the IEC.
According to the IEC’s communications officer, Tumi Sethoba, the commission has already sent a progress report to the apex court, as required.
“We confirm the Constitutional Court’s final report is due on November 30, 2019, as per the order of the court of 2018. The commission’s progress report was submitted at the end of September this year,” Sethoba said.
Only 5% of voters had no records of their addresses with the IEC by the time the Commission submitted its report.
Of the total 26 625 092 registered voters, the IEC had managed to compile 84% of complete addresses, at 22244304, compared to 72% last year in November, and 34% in 2016.
According to the progress report, the commission had managed to secure around 10% of incomplete/generic addresses.
Furthermore, about 1% of the voters had signed “REC AS” (recorded as) forms in which they affirmed their particulars, in order to ascertain their correct voting district.
At the heart of the current legal issue with voters’ addresses were eight contentious by-elections in Tlokwe during 2013, where unsuccessful independent candidates took to the Electoral Court to challenge the outcomes of the elections, accusing the IEC’s voters roll of being both unreliable and incorrect.
The candidates sought an investigation of the registration process in the wards, as they claimed that some voters who took part in the by-elections were bussed in from outside the voting districts by political parties who wanted to win the election.
But the Electoral Court dismissed the case, obliging candidates to approach the Constitutional Court, which upheld their case and instructed the IEC to obtain voters’ addresses and hold fresh by-elections.
The court ordered the commission to submit six-monthly updates on its progress in compiling the addresses of all voters in the country.