There were at least 4,000 registered voters on the IEC voters’ roll in Tlokwe, North West who do not have addresses, the Constitutional Court heard on Monday.
Wim Trengove SC told the full bench of justices that with 4,000 Tlokwe registered voters do not having addresses, the ruling of the Electoral Court in February further puts in jeopardy the prospects of 18 million voters, who were on the roll by December 2003 when the IEC was required by law to keep their addresses, said Trengrove for the IEC.
“The court [Electoral Court] in its ruling, says the 4,189 who do not have addresses is irregular because these days all voters must have addresses,” said Trengrove.
“The removal of the 4,189 voters, because they should not be there in the first place, will disenfranchise the 18 million people who were there before 2013.”
He had earlier argued that the IEC was not obliged to keep address records until 2003, but had done its duty to ensure that voters voted in the districts in which they were registered
Deputy Justice Dikgang Moseneke asked Trengove how he could bring the historical voters roll into the Tlokwe fray and say 18 million voters could be disenfranchised.
“It is quite another thing to say this endangers existing historical registrations on the roll.”
Trengove stood his ground, and said the logic from the Electoral Court ruling was that anyone with no address on the roll was irregularly registered.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng interjected and asked: “Then what is it that Section 16 requires the IEC to have done in 2003 for the roll to be in the correct state? What obligation does the IEC have?”
“The section requires the IEC to keep the records and disclose them to the parties,” answered Trengove.
“But there is no evidence to suggest that the roll is flawed or that it did not fulfill its duty to ensure that the 18 million voters were correctly captured on the roll … we accept that the IEC has a duty to keep addresses, but we do not accept that they had a duty to go back and look for address for the historical roll.”
Mogoeng asked him what would happen, on assumption, that there has not been compliance by the IEC.
“If anyone gets hold of the voters’ roll, it is easy to get it by paying a fine … what would happen if they find no addresses and realise there has been no compliance?” Mogoeng asked.
“Then it would mean this appeal would fail, and the direct access to the court requested would be effected,” Trengove said.
– African News Agency (ANA)