Expat vote a matter of principle - DA

The DA wants South Africans living abroad to vote in the provincial ballot of the 2014 elections.

Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille casts her vote in the local government elections in Rondebosch, Cape Town on Wednesday, 18 May 2011. Picture: Nardus Engelbrecht/SAPA

CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Wednesday said it had no option but to go to court in its bid to have South Africans living abroad vote in the provincial ballot of the 2014 elections.

At present, only national ballots may be cast by citizens outside the country.

The application also asks that provisions be made for South Africans to register to vote in provincial elections and for polling stations to be made available in areas where there are no embassies or consulates.

The opposition party and nine other applicants filed papers in the Western Cape High Court in Cape Town.

DA Federal Executive Chairperson James Selfe says the Constitutional Court ruling before the 2009 elections set the principle that expats should be allowed to vote.

But he says the electoral amendment bill before Parliament will only allow voters to cast a national ballot.

Selfe says South Africans abroad should not be limited to only casting national ballots.

"We believe that this should be extended to all South Africans, otherwise it creates a situation where some voters are more equal than others."

Selfe says the DA is encouraging expats to register to vote in 2014, but insists his party is going to court on a point of principle and not for political gain.