'SA citizens overseas must have right to vote'

South Africans should never again be denied the right to vote, the Freedom Front Plus said in the Constitutional Court yesterday.

South Africans should never again be denied the right to vote, the Freedom Front Plus said in the Constitutional Court yesterday.

Former president Nelson Mandela said this should "never, never again happen", the party's counsel, Barto du Plessis, told the court. "In the context of disenfranchising people, this court should never allow disenfranchisement.

The court was taking submissions from eight separate parties on the Electoral Act's provisions that limit which South Africans can vote when overseas.

The Act does allow the overseas vote to government officials, sporting teams competing internationally and people on business trips or holidays. However, they had to notify the IEC within 15 days of the proclamation of the election date of their intention to vote.

Willem Richter, a school teacher working in the UK until the end of the year, had successfully argued in the Pretoria High Court that it was "unconstitutional" to deny him the right to vote while he was out of the country.

The judges spent the morning grappling with why the applications were made so late, with elections only six weeks away. - Sapa

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