February 10 Tuesday -- Radio 702 reports that only one day before the Pretoria High Court is hearing an application to delay the presidency from announcing the date of the next presidential election, SA's acting president has announced that the next poll will take place on 22 April -- despite of previous promises to the contrary.
Acting-president Motlanthe thus cheated more than 1,5-million South Africans out of their voting rights abroad by announcing the election date only one day before the Pretoria Court would have heard the interdict to stop him.
Once the date has been announced, expat South Africans won’t be able to register as new voters abroad.
Monday’s application by the Freedom Front Plus party to delay the poll-date announcement by Motlanthe was lodged on behalf of South African expat-teacher Willem Richter in the UK – but the Pretoria High Court then delayed its decision to Wednesday. This followed Monday's Pretoria High Court shock-ruling that all registered South Africans living abroad must be given the opportunity to vote at SA's foreign embassies and consulates – as they had been allowed to do in 1994, but not ever since.
Presidency’s ‘assurances’ aren’t worth diddly-squat:
Quintus Pelser, legal council for Richter, also told the Pretoria High court on Monday that he had received "assurances" from the presidency that the proclamation of the election date "was not with government printers". The court ruled that the Electoral Act "limited" the casting of votes to South Africans who were only abroad temporarily, such as civil servants and travellers.It referred the judgement to the Constitutional Court for confirmation.
Today, Motlanthe announced the new presidential poll date would take place on April 22. That’s how scared the ANC leadership is of giving the country's more than 1,5million expats voting rights abroad - who left the country to find work abroad because of the ANC's anti-white hiring laws, and clearly aren't expected to vote for them in this year's election. Source
Handing down judgment on Monday, Acting Judge Piet Ebersohn ruled that the current legislation infringed on the rights of all the South Africans who were living and working abroad.
The court ruled that the electoral act "limited" the casting of votes to people temporarily living abroad. It has now referred the judgment to the Constitutional Court for confirmation on Wednesday.
The judge also ordered the country's Independent Electoral Commission to change its voting procedures so as to allow South Africans living abroad to vote at all its foreign missions.
Speaking outside the court on Monday, Freedom Front Plus spokesman Willie Spies said this was just step one in the process of obtaining voting-rights for South Africans abroad -- the Constitutional Court could still overrule the judgment.
Willem Richter is a 27-year-old South African schoolteacher who is temporarily working in Surrey, UK.
The opposition Democratic Alliance and the Inkatha Freedom Parties both have also launched a combined, similar application at the High Court – inviting the Freedom Front Plus to also join them in this effort. These parties are all seeking to ‘ensure that South Africans who are temporarily living abroad may cast their vote,’ said Democratic Alliance MP James Selfe.
During the country’s first democratic, multiracial elections in 1994, everyone was able to vote – South Africans abroad were given voting facilities at foreign legations. However since that time, the ANC-regime has dropped this, claiming they ‘did not have the manpower or the facilities to handle polling booths abroad’.
At the moment only very specific, rather elitist groups such as government employees and their kin; as well as South Africans who can provide proof they have a residence in South Africa and are just on temporary trips for business, holidays or studying, can vote at foreign legations.
The Freedom Front Plus party now is also filing an urgent application in the Pretoria High Court asking that the proclamation of the voting day be postponed to allow the Constitutional Court ample time to consider the matter. Their application was expected to be heard shortly after midday. Source
The South African government is in a shambles at the moment, with the ruling African National Congress splitting into two factions which are increasingly at war with each other. They voted out the elected president Thabo Mbeki in favour of their party president Jacob Zuma, and the two factions have been at each other’s throats ever since. The acting-president Mothlanthe has also been targetted in a media sex-scandal campaign, and the next presidential election date has not yet been announced.
Due to the fact that South Africans are increasingly leaving the country of their birth, mainly because of the violent crime epidemic, many South Africans were left disenfranchised by the South African voting rules.
Two South African political parties last week had lodged two seperate lawsuits – one in the Constitutional Court and one at the High Court in Cape Town -- to try and obtain voting rights in the forthcoming presidential elections for the country's more than 1,2-million South Africans citizens, mostly whites, who are forced to work abroad due to the poor economic opportunities at home – whites are barred from the entire labour market by law.
This week, a formal application will be submitted to the Constitutional Court on behalf of Willem Richter, pictured left -- a 27-year-old South African schoolteacher who is temporarily working in Surrey, UK -- by the SA opposition party Freedom Front Plus.
And the opposition Democratic Alliance has also launched an application at the High Court – inviting the Freedom Front Plus to also join them in this effort. They are seeking to ‘ensure that South Africans who are temporarily living abroad may cast their vote,’ said Democratic Alliance MP James Selfe.
"According to the current regulations Richter, as well as the majority of South Africans just like him who are living and working abroad, again may not vote in this year's elections," said Dr Pieter Mulder, leader of the FF+ party.
Unconstitutional Electoral Act.
Their urgent application at the Constitutional Court demands that the Electoral Act be declared unconstitutional. “Restrictions placed on expat voters are a purposeful way to exclude their votes, ’ Mulder said.
Both parties had already started lodging requests for adjustments to Independent Electoral Commission’s voting rules for expats with the IEC’s Brigalia Bam. Some ‘minor adjustments’ were then made, said the Freedom Front Plus – but it’s still well-nigh impossible for the vast majority of South African expats to vote at foreign embassies, where polling booths are only being set up for embassy personnel and their relatives.
DA leader Helen Zille said that 'all citizens living abroad should have the opportunity to vote in elections at home, beginning with the 2009 election. The right to vote is enshrined in the Constitution; as such the IEC has a duty to give effect to the right."
The South African Electoral Act now disqualifies large numbers of South Africans from casting their vote only by ‘reason of their geographical location’ – although the Constitution states that "every adult South African citizen" has the right to "vote in elections for any legislative body established in terms of the Constitution", the party leaders said.
Legal precedent suggests that a legal challenge to the Electoral Act could be successful, violence monitor and electoral expert Suzanne de Vos says.
- "The Constitutional Court has said that the right to vote is fundamental to democracy, and that this required proper arrangements to be made for its effective exercise," said De Vos.
This meant the legislature and the executive should provide the legal framework, infrastructure and resources for free and fair elections.
- "South African citizens who live abroad can argue that their constitutional right to vote is being infringed because the Electoral Act in effect denies them a right to vote.
- "If such an application is brought, the government will have to provide solid reasons why these citizens are being denied their right to vote as they will have to show that the limitation of this right is justified in terms of the limitation clause in the Bill of Rights," said De Vos.
Independent Democrat party leader Patricia de Lille said that in the 2003 elections, ‘the government's excuse was that it lacks the resources to accommodate overseas citizens,’ adding that this was"unacceptable", as ‘the same resources that made provision for government officials abroad should and could also be used to facilitate the voting procedure for non-government employees..
Prisoners and criminals may vote… but not expats.
She said prisoners awaiting trial were allowed to vote, and most certainly other South African citizens who are out of the country should also have this privilege. If South Africans abroad could vote it would 'impact on election results…’
Foreign affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa says while ‘it is impossible to determine how many South Africans live abroad, it is arguable that if all South Africans outside the country were able to exercise their voting rights, these voters could make a measurable impact on the election results.’ Source
This fact also explains the fact that none of those other political parties which primarily cater for black voters, seem to have any concerns whatsoever about this unconstitutional disenfranchisement of so many top-educated South Africans who now have to work abroad.
The reason for this unconcerned attitude among parties with a mainly black voters’ base, is not hard to guess: most of the expats are whites, and the majority of these ‘whites’ are Afrikaans-speakers: people who by law are also being denied access to the South African job market, because of their paler skin-colour.
Especially the Afrikaners – who have no other homeland – have been handed a double-whammy after the 1994 election – not only are they being forced from the country because being whites. they are not allowed to work in the country of their birth by a vast variety of laws -- but they are also being denied voting rights under the lame excuse that the embassies ‘don’t have the facilities’.
The embassies did however have the facilities during the 1994 elections – so what has changed since then except a very clear plan to bar all whites from the electoral process in South Africa as much as possible? Source