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