The Democratic Alliance (DA) will take the matter to the Electoral Court if the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) fail to designate voting stations at all relevant overseas missions. This week, the DA formally requested the immediate inclusion of all Embassies, High Commissions, and Consulates as voting stations for the upcoming 2024 elections from both the IEC and DIRCO.
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. Should there be no indication by Friday, 9 February, that the IEC and DIRCO will permit South Africans to vote at diplomatic missions, as clearly stipulated in the Electoral Act, the DA plans to seek relief from the Electoral Court.
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.
Be part of the mission to rescue South Africa, get help registering to vote at check.da.org.za