n Journal of African Elections - Voters’ roll crises and the need for electoral reforms in South Africa

Volume 16 Number 2
  • ISSN : 1609-4700



This paper considers the implications of the Constitutional Court ruling that declared the 2013 Tlokwe by-elections unconstitutional. This ruling was because the voters’ roll did not contain the addresses of voters as required by electoral legislation and it has cast a shadow on the credibility of elections in South Africa. The Constitutional Court gave the Electoral Commission until the end of June 2018 to correct this problem which affects over 10 million voters. The question that this paper discusses is whether the Electoral Commission will find a solution to this conundrum before the national general elections scheduled to take place in 2019. This is especially urgent because the Electoral Commission has already indicated its incapacity to perform this task in the face of inadequate resources. The paper also looks at the nature of the problem regarding the voters’ register and the voting district within which it is premised. In an attempt to find a solution to this problem the author undertook a small survey to establish whether political parties used the addresses of voters to conduct their campaign work. The paper concludes by suggesting electoral reforms that may resolve the problem of the voters’ roll and improve the overall management of elections in South Africa.

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