Pretoria – The Sosholoza Progressive Party has objected to the validation of the voters’ roll by the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) and has urged the organisation to wait for the outcome of a Constitutional Court judgment.
“The IEC has appealed the decision of a court regarding the voters’ roll. The court declared the Tlokwe by-elections as unfair and not free, based on the voters roll,” the party’s deputy president, Dr Raynauld Russon, said.
“Its puzzling how the IEC can go ahead with the same voters’ roll. They are jumping the gun.”
Russon made his objection during the draw to determine which party would be at the top of the Proportional Representation (PR) ballot papers in all the municipalities during the local government elections.
His objection was shot down by IEC vice chairperson Terry Tselane, who told him there were processes to be followed in raising such an objection.
“As a former staff member of this commission, you understand the processes much better than many political parties that are here,” Tselane said.
Russon, a former chief director at the IEC responsible for the voters’ roll, however continued to state why his party was objecting.
“This is crucial. We have served you with papers; we have served the minister with papers to stop the local elections pending the outcome of the Constitutional Court. On Tuesday the 14th [of June], we are going to the High Court in Pretoria,” he said.
Tselane then continued with the order of business, where the Pan Africanist Movement was drawn as the party to be at the top of the ballot papers in all the municipalities it would be contesting.
Speaking to the media after the draw, Tselane dismissed the objection as political grandstanding.
“He was one of our senior managers here and because of that he knows what needs to happen when we are having a draw like this one. If he genuinely wanted to raise an objection, there a process which he could do so. Because he has raised the matter with the courts, he should wait for the courts and hear what they have to say,” said Tselane.
He added that the IEC would be challenging Russon’s court action. He would not be drawn to comment on whether the judgment of the Constitutional Court would affect the elections.
“We can’t preempt the judgment. We will just have to wait and hear what it says. The matter that is before the Constitutional Court is a matter pertaining to Tlokwe,” he said.
Tlokwe by-elections not free and fair
The Constitutional Court reserved judgment in May in the IEC’s urgent application for leave to appeal an Electoral Court ruling that it provide the addresses of people registered on the voters’ roll.
The IEC had filed an application with the Constitutional Court in April, asking it to set aside an Electoral Court ruling which it said could see millions of people disqualified from voting.
On November 30 last year, the Constitutional Court ruled that the 2013 Tlokwe by-elections were not free and fair.
The court ruled that all new voters who registered had to provide details of their address, or sufficient details of where they lived, to place them in a voting district.
The by-elections were scheduled to be re-run in February this year. The Electoral Court, however, halted them at the last minute after six independent candidates complained that more than 4 198 addresses were missing from the new voters’ roll. This prompted the IEC’s appeal.
Subsequently, several other by-elections around the country were postponed.