DA submits legal papers to Electoral Court requesting more voting stations overseas

Issued by Helen Zille – Chairperson of the DA Federal Council
16 Feb 2024 in News

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has yesterday submitted legal papers to the Electoral Court to request the inclusion of all Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates as voting stations for the 2024 elections.

This follows letters sent to both the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) last week requesting the same. The IEC responded to the DA’s communication, indicating only that DIRCO is responsible for designating voting stations abroad. The DA is yet to receive a response from DIRCO and has subsequently approached the courts for relief.

This action comes in response to complaints from South Africans residing in Perth, who sought the opening of the Honorary Consulate as a voting facility. The High Commission in Canberra responded to these concerns, stating that the Perth Consulate could not be utilised for voting as it is “not headed by transferred staff from South Africa.” This contradicts the current Electoral Act, which allows South Africans abroad to cast their votes at any Embassy, High Commission, or Consulate.

The DA considers this position by the High Commission in Canberra to be both unlawful and irrational. The party argues that the IEC and DIRCO should not differentiate between consulates headed by “transferred staff” and those led by honorary consuls.

With a significant South African population of 200 000 in Australia alone and over 1 million believed to be residing, working, studying, or traveling globally, the IEC and DIRCO must ensure ample opportunities for these citizens to exercise their constitutional right to vote.