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Opposition parties feel vindicated by court judgment

The Democratic Alliance (DA) and Congress of the People (COPE) in the Tlokwe Local Municipality agree that the Constitutional Court judgment has vindicated their stance that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) had been running elections in a manner not prescribed by the Constitution.

The Constitutional Court ruled on Tuesday that the Commission acted outside the law by failing to obtain addresses of registered voters on the roll.

The independent candidates in Tlokwe brought the matter to the courts following the 2013 by-elections.

The independent candidates in Tlokwe maintained then, that the 2013 by-elections were rigged, as addresses for thousands of registered voters were not provided.

They maintained that, this created a vacuum for some parties to bus people to vote in the wards they do not reside in.

Though the local government elections will go on as planned, the highest court in the country has ordered the IEC to deal with the issue of addresses and have a proper voters’ roll, by June 2018.

This, according to the DA is music to their ears, as spokesperson Nicolize van der Walt says they are happy with the Constitutional Court ruling.

“I think we achieved what we wanted to achieve, and that is for the IEC to clean up house, and to get the voters’ roll in order. It is the constitutional right of every South African to vote, and therefore, we are very glad that the elections will go forward, and will still happen on August 3. I think our voters should get a chance to go and vote. It means that we will have a transparent and a comprehensive voters’ roll for the upcoming national elections.”

Some say it is not only the IEC that should be blamed, but also municipalities that have failed over the years, to proactively resolve the issue of lack of addresses, especially at the informal settlements.

But, some are happy that they will be able to vote this year, and clarity has been sought on the addresses issue.

“The voters’ roll should be finalised, and every person should have a fixed address,” says a voter.

Another voter says, “I am happy that the elections will go on. And I definitely think that everyone should have equal chance to vote, even though you do not have address. But they should work very hard to give everyone addresses, so that in the future it will be better organised.”

‘Our only concern was that an Independent Electoral Commission had to be driven by a judgment of the court,’ adds another voter.

Spokesperson for the Congress of the People (COPE) in North West, Kenneth Maduna, says they welcome the judgment.

“We are happy with the judgment. We have been telling the IEC that they are ignoring Electoral ACT Section 16 (3). Obviously we have to wait for the full judgment to study it, and then we will be able to release media statement to that effect.”

For the ANC in Tlokwe, the judgment has now paved the way for them to hit the streets of the highly contested municipality, in preparation for the local government elections.

The ruling party’s chief whip in the Tlokwe Local Municipality Thabo Mosiane says, “We welcome the decisions of the Constitutional Court. We think that the IEC has been given the opportunity to go and rectify their mistakes, to make sure that they abide by the rule of law. And we are ready for the elections now on the third of August, now that the air is cleared.”

The judgment of the Constitutional Court seems to have allayed fears among some in Tlokwe, that the local government elections would be postponed, as the IEC verifies addresses for millions of registered voters.

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