INDEPENDENT. IMPARTIAL.

INDEPENDENT. IMPARTIAL.

Homeless people can vote in the LGE: IEC

A group of homeless men take in the last of the days light before seeking a place to sleep on a deserted promenade during the 21-day nationwide lockdown aimed at limiting the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Cape Town, South Africa, April 15, 2020. SABC News

The IEC in the Western Cape says it’s a misconception that homeless people cannot vote in local government elections because they do not have a fixed address.
On World Homeless Day, and ahead of local government elections, organisations working in the sector are calling on policymakers to respond to the needs of the homeless in society.
Some homeless people have had their IDs confiscated along with their belongings by authorities or the IDs have been lost. Provincial Electoral Officer for the Western Cape, Michael Hendrickse says you do not need a formal address to vote.
“You are entitled as a South African to vote if you are eligible, irrespective of you are homeless or not. I think it’s one of the biggest tragedies if people assume that because you are homeless, a homeless person cannot vote in the election, there’s nothing further from the truth than that. All the law requires from you ordinarily is to be a resident wherever, and for the electoral purpose it simply means we need to put you in a voting district, but by no means do you need a formal address to cast your vote.”
The National Homeless Network launched its manifesto highlighting equal treatment before the law and equal access to health facilities.
CEO of the ‘U-Turn Organisation’, Jean-Ray Knighton Fitt says while they focus on getting people off the streets, they want the homeless treated with dignity by municipalities.

“Our focus really is on shelter, there’s insufficient shelter in every city, pretty much insufficient shelter here in Cape Town. Dramatically you know, we have about 14 000 people living on the street and a shelter lives about 2500, so we really need an emphasis on providing shelter and access to healthcare. Often people struggle with that maybe they don’t have an ID or turned away because they don’t smell good or look the same as other people.”

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