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Legal teams agree elections must go ahead, IEC must work on addresses

The IEC says it’s impossible to verify the addresses of 18 million voters in such a short time period.

FILE: An IEC official assists a Denver resident during voter registration weekend. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Legal teams have agreed that the local government elections should go ahead but that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) needs to address the issue of voters' addresses.

The Constitutional Court is hearing an urgent application today for leave to appeal concerning the obligation of the IEC to have all the addresses of registered voters.

The IEC says it's impossible to verify the addresses of 18 million voters in such a short time period, saying this could take up to 2019.

Wim Trengove, who is representing the IEC, has argued that if a voter's name is on the roll without an address, that person should still be eligible to vote.

Trengove says the absence of addresses does not mean the voters' roll is flawed, emphasising that the IEC was only required to record addresses from the end of 2003.

Andre Bosman, who is representing the independent candidates, says the IEC has shown that it can make contact with voters on a large scale through SMSs and adverts.

"If one has regard to the two weekends during which they endeavoured by advertisement on the radio etc, to make contact with voters and in the process they reached approximately four million voters."

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has been at pains to try and convince parties to come to an agreement, which will allow the elections to go ahead.

JUDGMENT RESERVED

The ConCourt has reserved judgment in the IEC's application for leave to appeal an earlier ruling that it must obtain the addresses of all registered voters.

The Electoral Court ordered the commission to provide the addresses of voters to candidates contesting elections.

Trengove says there was no obligation to verify addresses given by voters.

It does, however, appear that all parties want the local government election to go ahead in August.

It's unclear when the court will hand down judgment.