Levy pay­ments ’must still be paid’

Business Day - - FRONT PAGE - Natasha Marrian Po­lit­i­cal Ed­i­tor mar­ri­ann@busi­nesslive.co.za

Own­ers of sec­tional ti­tle prop­er­ties and man­agers of com­mu­nity schemes have been urged to con­tinue pay­ing their levies to the Com­mu­nity Schemes Om­bud Ser­vice fol­low­ing the sus­pen­sion of two ex­ec­u­tives for in­vest­ing R80m of its sur­plus funds with the failed VBS Mu­tual Bank.

The Elec­toral Com­mis­sion of SA (IEC) is set to push for an amend­ment of the Elec­toral Act to en­sure that 1.6-mil­lion vot­ers with­out ad­dresses are not re­moved from the vot­ers’ roll.

While the mea­sure has been wel­comed by po­lit­i­cal par­ties, there are con­cerns that in a tightly con­tested pro­vin­cial elec­tion, which prov­inces such as Gaut­eng are likely to have, such an amend­ment may leave room for manipulation.

In 2016, the Con­sti­tu­tional Court ruled that the vot­ers’ roll as it stood was in­con­sis­tent with the rule of law. The IEC’s fail­ure to record the ad­dresses of vot­ers was found to be un­con­sti­tu­tional and in­valid. The IEC was given 18 months to fix the de­fect. It had not done so by the court-pre­scribed dead­line and has ap­plied for an ex­ten­sion.

While IEC in­sid­ers are con­fi­dent their re­quest for an ex­ten­sion will be granted, the Con­sti­tu­tional Court has yet to rule on the mat­ter. It is ex­pected to do so by the end of Novem­ber.

How­ever, IEC chief elec­toral of­fi­cer Sy Mam­abolo says an amend­ment to the act would “cre­ate a dif­fer­ent vot­ing pro­ce­dure”, that would al­low the 1.6-mil­lion vot­ers with­out ad­dresses to cast their bal­lot.

These vot­ers will be al­lowed to pro­vide their ad­dresses and a “de­ter­mi­na­tion” would then be made whether they would be al­lowed to vote in the pro­vin­cial elec­tion. Mam­abolo said this would go a long way to­wards pre­vent­ing them from be­ing re­moved from the roll.

“The amend­ment will help to pre­vent that, but also the amend­ment will en­sure that we com­ply with the court or­der, that be­fore they vote they must give us an ad­dress,” he said.

While it would al­low le­git­i­mate vot­ers who have not yet sup­plied their ad­dresses to vote, it does pose a slight risk, po­ten­tially al­low­ing for manipulation, es­pe­cially if most of those are “ghost vot­ers”.

Law­son Naidoo, ex­ec­u­tive sec­re­tary of the Coun­cil for the Ad­vance­ment of the SA Con­sti­tu­tion, said with such an amend­ment, the IEC had to en­sure that it can au­then­ti­cate these vot­ers. “There would have to be some sort of mech­a­nism to ver­ify [those] 1.6-mil­lion vot­ers, if you can’t get the ad­dresses, you would have to be able to ver­ify that those vot­ers ac­tu­ally ex­ist. There may be gen­uine vot­ers among them but there may also be ghost vot­ers,” he said.

Sy Mam­abolo

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