Durban – Prisoners, expats and those admitted to hospitals are among those who will not be able to vote in the municipal elections next Wednesday, according to KwaZulu-Natal electoral officer, Mawethu Mosery.
Responding to a Daily News question whether prisoners would vote, Mosery said on Thursday prisoners were excluded from participating in the municipal elections.
“They won’t be at the places of residence. They are in prison on a temporary basis,” he said.
This is despite that prisoners are usually allowed to vote in the general elections regardless of the sentence imposed on them.
“This time around they can’t elect a ward councillor where there is a prison. They are temporary residents in a prison and are there not by choice,” Mosery recently told a media workshop.
He also said: “Even people who are overseas won’t be allowed to vote because they are not in their wards.”
He added that this also applied to people admitted to hospitals.
“Any voter who is not in his voting station on August 3 will not be able to vote. This affects those who are overseas, in transit, hospital and prisoners whether sentenced or not,” Mosery said.
He explained that in the general elections prisoners, expats and people admitted to hospital were entitled to vote on one ballot for Parliament and legislatures in provinces where they were registered to vote.
However, where prisoners were serving time in other provinces other than where they were registered, they voted for Parliament only.
Golden Miles Bhudu, president of the South African Organisation for Human Rights, described the disqualification of prisoners in municipal elections as disenfranchisement and flew in the face of the country’s democracy.
“We remain convinced that it is violation of their human rights. They (prisoners) are allowed to vote in provincial and national elections and never in municipal elections,” Bhudu said, adding the move was unconstitutional.
He claimed the IEC had previously told them that administering a vote to prisoners in municipal elections would provide a logistical and human administrative nightmare.
“We never had money to challenge the decision. We have tried to talk to political parties to argue our case because their argument on logistics is in their head,” he said.
“No political party is prepared to assist in the fight for constitutional rights of people who are law breakers yet they steal from the poor.”
Source: IOL – Crime
Expats, prisoners will not vote next week