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Constitutional Court says no to Diaspora Vote, defends Electoral Act

The details of a 2013 ruling by the Constitutional Court were availed this week under Judgement Number 12 of 2017. In 2013 South Africa-based truck driver Mr Tavengwa Bukaibenyu filed a constitutional application in 2013 challenging the validity of Sections 23(3) and 71 of the Electoral Act.

He was challenging the validity of Section 23(3) of the Electoral Act, which removes from the voters’ roll, names of those who spend at least 12 consecutive months outside their constituencies and Section 71 of the same Act, which limits the right to postal voting only to people sent outside the country on Government business and their spouses.However, the Constitutional Court defended the two sections of the Electoral Act and stated that postal vote is only reserved for individuals on Government duty.  It also ruled that it is justifiable for a person’s name to be removed from the voters’ role of a constituency after 12 months. Part of the judgement authored by Chief Justice Luke Malaba reads:

The Constitution did not place an obligation upon the State to make arrangements for voters, who for personal reasons, were unable to attend at the polling stations to vote…

Section 23(3) required that a voter be resident in the constituency in which he or she was to vote for purposes of being qualified for registration on the voters roll for that constituency.

If the voter became absent from constituency in which he or she was registered as a voter for a continuous period of 12 months, his or her name had to be removed from the voters’ roll of that constituency.

More: Herald

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