Thursday, February 12, 2009

South African oversea voters

Hello all!

Wow, this has been a week of good news. To begin: the High Court of South Africa ruled in favour of an applicant who sued with the assistance of the DA and the FF+ to receive the right to vote. The applicant, a South African living overseas in the UK, claimed that sections of the Voting Act were unconstitutional, and the High Court agreed.

However, as this is a constitutional matter, the case was referred to the Constitutional Court. Because the High Court agreed with the time-sensitive nature of the issue, the case will be heard on Monday.

Yesterday, an official election date of 22 April 2009 was announced. For now, that is the official date of the South African general election. However, the constitutional court can declare this date invalid if it finds that there are significant logistical issues involved with establishing a mechanism to allow South Africans overseas to vote.

What does this mean for South Africans living overseas? For right now, nothing. The legal situation of South African expatriates has yet to change. I have received hundreds of messages asking about the process to go about registering to vote/voting from abroad/polling locations, etc. As of today, not only has this not been established, but it will not be until the Constitutional Court rules on the issue.

So we must remain patient. As soon as any regulations have been announced, I will contact the group immediately. But to reiterate: as of today (11 February 2009), South Africans living overseas have not yet been granted the vote.

I hope this clarified some of your questions. Should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me!


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