The August 3 municipal elections cannot be postponed, even in strife-torn areas like Vuwani, Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) vice chairperson Terry Tselane said on Tuesday.
“We have got to proceed with the understanding that elections are going to take place in Vuwani and other parts of the country,” Tselane told Parliament’s portfolio committee on home affairs.
“I’m sure there is no appetite from anybody to change the Constitution for this purpose. That’s why the election has got to happen.”
At least 50 schools were either vandalised or burnt down in Vuwani, Limpopo, during protests against a municipal demarcation decision. On April 29, the Masia Traditional Council lost a court application to set aside the Municipal Demarcation Board’s decision to merge the underperforming Vuwani municipality with parts of the Malamulele municipality in the Vhembe district.
Tselane said the IEC did have some voter registration details for the area, but there might not be enough votes to constitute the Malamulele municipality, hence the importance of voting.
However, the elections for that region could not be postponed.
IEC working to capture addresses
In Malamulele, registration had already taken place, so it was not as though there was no voters’ roll. He said the IEC would not hold another weekend voter registration drive because it could not afford the R22m it would cost.
South Africans not yet registered could do so at their local IEC office. Once the August 3 date had been proclaimed, possibly even within the next 10 days, the voters’ roll would be closed.
Meanwhile, the IEC was working around the clock to capture missing addresses on the voters’ roll. It was doing so after the Constitutional Court reserved judgment last on Monday 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.
MPs were alarmed on Tuesday to hear that the commission still did not have addresses for up to 46% of the more than 26 million (26 299 952) people registered.
“We potentially have about 54% of voters with some addresses, which to us seems fine,” chief electoral officer Mosotho Moepya told MPs.
He said the IEC said it would abide by whatever the Constitutional Court decided.