Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des Van Rooyen, who delivered his department’s budget vote speech in Parliament today, says there is no way the Local Government Elections scheduled for August can be postponed. Rooyen added that any attempt to postpone the 2016 local elections would require a constitutional amendment.
Meanwhile, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has sought legal advice from the Constitutional Court in the bid to get clarity on what needs to be done to make sure that South Africans are lawfully registered on the voters’ roll and hopefully avoid a repeat of ugly incidents during elections.
The hearing for the case, which started from a dispute over the 2013 Tlokwe by-elections will commence by next week Monday. The ruling by the Constitutional Court in November last year indicated that the local government elections were not free and fair and ordered for fresh by-elections to be held by the IEC.
The IEC has not been able to carry out the order due to uncertainty on whether the addresses of all registered voters should appear on voters’ roll.
The IEC interpreted the judgment to mean that voters’ roll needs to include as much information as possible about the residential addresses of voters who register after 30 November 2015.
Van Rooyen emphasised on the need to wait for ConCourt’s judgement on the matter which will provide clarity about what is expected of the IEC for the elections to go on smoothly.
“As we go to the court on 9 May, we think that sanity will prevail and this matter will be clarified so that those voters are not disenfranchised or deprived of their democratic rights.”
A lot of inconsistencies existed prior to this year’s voter registration weekends, where up to 16 million registered voters had either incomplete addresses or nothing attached next to their names. From previous analysis by the IEC, capturing the full addresses of all registered voters could be extended to 2019.
The EFF has also warned that any attempt to rig the 2016 local elections will attract consequences.