South Africa 20.3.2015 01:37 pm

Electoral court dismisses Tlokwe application

FILE PICTURE: Annette Combrink at the North Gauteng High Court for the application by the ANC to have the election of the DA mayor in Tlokwe declared invalid on 23 July 2013. Picture: Christine Vermooten

FILE PICTURE: Annette Combrink at the North Gauteng High Court for the application by the ANC to have the election of the DA mayor in Tlokwe declared invalid on 23 July 2013. Picture: Christine Vermooten

The Electoral Court has dismissed an application by independent candidates in Tlokwe, in the North West, to set aside the 2013 by-elections based on alleged irregularities.

The eight candidates wanted a forensic investigation into alleged corruption during the by-elections in December in 2013.¬†“[The court] came to the conclusion that the application must fail in its entirety,” the Electoral Court said in its judgment handed down on Thursday.¬†However, the court said the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) had an obligation and responsibility in election processes as enshrined in the Constitution.

“The point is simply that, in spite of its recognition of the task, and the assurance it gave that it did its best to comply with its statutory obligations in relation to the applicants’ concerns, the commission can and should do better.

“All the issues raised in this application, and they are crucial, ought to be addressed with all interested parties outside of the litigation process.”

No cost order was made in the application.

Independent candidates were arguing against the IEC’s finding that only 1040 people voted illegally in the by-elections in 2013, saying the number was much higher.

In September, City Press reported that the IEC had admitted that 1040 illegal voters made their mark in the Tlokwe municipal by-elections. However, it insisted that the illegal votes did not change the outcome of the elections.

The admission was contained in a rejoinder affidavit filed with the Electoral Court in June and signed by chief electoral officer Mostho Moepya.

The case, which started in December 2013, was reportedly postponed in June and was supposed to be heard in August. But it was again postponed indefinitely after Moepya’s affidavit revealed that some registrations were illegal.

The by-elections were called after nine ANC councillors were fired by the party for refusing to support former Tlokwe mayor Mapetla Mapetla.

Independent candidates in nine of the wards asked the court to set aside the results and institute an independent investigation.

The African National Congress won eight of the nine wards.

 

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