JOHANNESBURG, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- South African Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille will lobby for the right of all South Africans living abroad to vote at a meeting with Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) head Brigalia Bam on Friday, the party said in a statement.
Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said that Section 33(1)(e) of the Electoral Act provides for South African citizens who are temporarily abroad -- for purposes of a holiday, a business trip, attending a tertiary institution, or participating in an international sports event -- to vote in national and provincial elections by special vote.
The party believes that the section should be extended to include South African citizens who are living abroad, many of whom intend returning.
In addition, to enable these South Africans abroad to vote, it is essential for the IEC to make provision for them to register at South African embassies and consulates. This is critical if the IEC is to fulfill its constitutional mandate.
"In most constitutional democracies, prisoners are not entitled to vote, while nationals living abroad are. In South Africa, we have the opposite situation where prisoners can vote and South Africans abroad cannot. The irony is bitter," Zille said.
Procedures are already in place for special votes and it will be possible for South Africans abroad to follow the same procedure and vote at their nearest South African missions.