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CityPress - - News - LISA MELA and PADDY HARPER news@city­press.co.za

for­mer KwaZulu-Natal ANC coun­cil­lor who ex­posed elec­toral fraud by the gov­ern­ing party has fled the coun­try and has ap­plied for po­lit­i­cal asy­lum on the French is­land of Re­union.

An­dré Löt­ter, who served as a coun­cil­lor for the Inkatha Free­dom Party (IFP) and later the ANC in Vry­heid in north­ern KwaZulu-Natal be­fore stand­ing as an in­de­pen­dent can­di­date, ap­plied for po­lit­i­cal asy­lum in June last year and has been granted in­terim res­i­dence on the In­dian Ocean is­land while his ap­pli­ca­tion is heard.

Löt­ter claims that he and his Ugan­dan wife, Robi­nah, were forced to flee Vry­heid and live at “fake ad­dresses” af­ter he took the ANC to court over its dirty – and illegal – elec­tion tac­tics.

He says they now fear that they will lose their lives if they re­turn to South Africa.

Löt­ter, who left the IFP to join the ANC in 2008, suc­cess­fully pe­ti­tioned the Con­sti­tu­tional Court to have by-elec­tions in the farm­ing town halted be­cause of tam­per­ing with the vot­ers’ roll and at­tempts to bus in vot­ers from other wards.

His lawyer in Re­union, Mi­hi­doiri Ali, told City Press that Löt­ter had asked for po­lit­i­cal asy­lum the “right way” by do­ing so im­me­di­ately af­ter he landed on the is­land last year.

“He asked di­rectly for asy­lum at the air­port cus­toms. He is now legally on French ground,” Ali said.

“I am con­vinced that An­dré Löt­ter will get po­lit­i­cal asy­lum. Not only does his case fit the Geneva Con­ven­tions, it fits the French Con­sti­tu­tion that gives asy­lum to ev­ery per­son per­se­cuted be­cause of their ac­tions to pro­tect free­dom,” Ali said.

Ap­pli­ca­tions to the French of­fice for refugees usu­ally take more than a year to process as the asy­lum seeker’s claims of per­se­cu­tion are in­ves­ti­gated.

Ac­cord­ing to Ali, Löt­ter’s is the first South African asy­lum ap­pli­ca­tion since 2009 and the first in Re­union, where most asy­lum seek­ers come from the Co­mores.

Löt­ter, who used to live on the farm Wier­nan­srust out­side Vry­heid, told Re­union news­pa­per Le Quo­ti­dien that he left the ANC af­ter dis­cov­er­ing that “the ANC,

PHOTO: MATTHEW MID­DLE­TON

ON FRENCH GROUND An­dré Löt­ter, his wife and young daugh­ter have ap­plied for asy­lum on the French is­land of Re­union

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