IEC mulls specialised courts for elections

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is exploring the possibility of setting up specialised courts to deal with any electoral crimes committed during the election period, the chairperson of the IEC Pansy Tlakula told Parliament yesterday.

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Briefing the National Assembly’s portfolio committee on home affairs, Tlakula said the specialised courts could be similar to those set up during the 2010 World Cup – which resulted in cases linked to the event being expedited.

The five-year term for the current National Assembly expires on April 21 next year and in terms of the Electoral Amendment Act, elections must be held within 90 days of the expiry of the term of the current National Assembly, with the election date to be proclaimed by the President.

Tlakula said the enforcement of the code of conduct remained one of the country’s key challenges during the elections, adding that police and prosecution authorities would receive extra training to ensure that they were well versed in the code of conduct.

The IEC is also concerned about the credibility of the voters’ roll and Tlakula singled out the commission’s recent investigation into the Ward 22 by-election in the Abaqulusi Municipality, in which it was found that over 1 200 voters were bused into the ward for the by-election.

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