Monday, February 9, 2009

High court rules in favour of expat vote

Say it with a sting.....

High court rules in favour of expat vote
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA Feb 09 2009 12:05

South Africans abroad should be allowed to vote, the Pretoria High Court ruled on Monday.

Handing down judgement, Acting Judge Piet Ebersohn ruled that the current legislation infringed on the rights of South Africans living abroad.

The court ruled that the electoral Act "limited" the casting of votes to people temporarily living abroad. It referred the judgement to the Constitutional Court for confirmation.

The Independent Electoral Commission was also ordered to change its voting procedures so as to allow South Africans living abroad to vote.

Speaking outside the court, Freedom Front Plus (FF+) spokesperson Willie Spies said the Constitutional Court could overrule the judgement.

The FF+ brought the application on behalf of a South African school teacher living in the United Kingdom.

Currently certain groups, including government employees and people on holiday and business trips, could have arrangements made for special votes.

The party would file an application in the Pretoria High Court asking that the proclamation of the voting day be postponed to allow the Constitutional Court ample time to consider the matter.

The application was expected to be heard shortly after midday.

The Homecoming Revolution, which encourages expat South Africans to return home to address the country's skills shortage, estimates that about two million expatriates would be eligible to vote if the Act was amended.

"There is a renewed interest in politics," a consultant with the organisation told Agence France-Presse, saying this was sparked by a broader choice of parties in South Africa as well as the election of Barack Obama as United States president.

The elections, expected as early as April, are likely to be the most fiercely contested in years with a breakaway from the ruling African National Congress, the Congress of the People, hoping to dent the ANC's two thirds majority.

Meanwhile, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on Sunday said it expected to meet its registration goal of 22-million voters.

"We are confident that we will reach our target of 22-million eligible voters on the voters' roll," said chairperson of the IEC Brigalia Bam in a statement.

The IEC said it was disturbed by accusations that some voters of certain parties had been purged from the voters' rolls. On Saturday, Inkatha Freedom Party national chairperson Zanele Magwaza said she had received calls from the party's members who complained that their names did not appear on the voters' roll.

"We believe that there are shenanigans at the IEC," said Magwaza. She accused the IEC of having "ANC elements".

"We requested those parties to submit evidence of such irregularity. We want to reassure all South Africans that party affiliation has never been a consideration for registering as a voter," said Bam.

Sapa, M & G,


Comments by Sonny

Another court victory for democracy in SA!


Home Affairs must issue bar coded identity documents NOW!



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