DA accused of 'vote grabbing'

DA were slammed for its intention to secure rights for expats to vote in provincial 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) has been accused of vote grabbing by going to court to secure rights for South Africans living abroad to vote for Provincial Legislatures.

The party came under fire from the African National Congress (ANC) and other opposition parties in the National Assembly on Thursday when the Electoral Amendment Bill was adopted.

The bill provides for expats and people away from their voting districts on voting day to vote for the National Assembly by way of a special vote.

But the DA wants expats to have the additional right to cast provincial ballots.

Freedom Front Plus Member of Parliament (MP) Corné Mulder slammed the DA for opposing the bill.

"What you are doing is absolutely and extremely opportunistic because you want to play for votes."

ANC MP Andre Gaum said many countries, including Australia, the United Kingdom, Angola and Botswana, allow their expats only to cast national ballots.

"In Australia one is not allowed a vote in state elections if you are outside Australia on voting day or if you are a citizen living abroad."

He said the DA needs to recognise that Parliament and not the courts make the laws.

"They are asking the court to ignore Parliament and its constitutional mandate by making a law on behalf of Parliament."

But the DA has said it will go ahead with its court bid.