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ConCourt hearing on Tlokwe gets underway

Wim Trengove, representing the IEC, says there is no obligation to record the addresses of voters.

The Constitutional Court

JOHANNESBURG - The Constitutional Court is hearing an urgent application this morning for leave to appeal in a case that centres on the obligation of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to gather all the addresses of registered voters.

Independent candidates in Tlokwe will tell the court that judges will be allowing the IEC to continue to break the law, if it finds the elections body doesn't have to obtain the addresses of voters before this year's local government polls.

Earlier this year, the commission postponed all by-elections around the country after the electoral court ruled that polls in Tlokwe could not go ahead, as the commission did not have the necessary information of people who were supposed to vote in specific wards.

Wim Trengove, who is representing the IEC, has argued that there is no obligation to record the addresses of voters.

"There was no duty on the IEC to keep those addresses on record after registration has occurred. If there is such a duty, then it was one that was introduced by implication in December 2003."

Trengove also says it doesn't mean that those who don't have addresses are properly registered to vote in their particular ward.

Judges have questioned why addresses were not included on the roll before 2003 because the law says the IEC must determine where a voter lives.

Trengove says the IEC was only obliged to record the addresses of voters from 2003.

Trengove has argued that it cannot be said that the IEC is now obliged to go back and check the addresses of 18 million voters who were registered before 2003.

"If you accept that there was no duty to go back and find the old addresses of people already on the roll, then this logic is flawed because it doesn't allow for the fact that there were already 18 million people on the roll when the rule was introduced."

He says many addresses have been lost or changed, but these people cannot be disenfranchised by not being able to vote in the upcoming local government election.

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