Parliament, Wednesday, 2 November 2022 – The Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, appeared before the Select Committee on Security and Justice today to brief the committee on the Electoral Amendment Bill (B1B-2022] (S75), which was referred to the committee by the National Council of Provinces on 20 October 2022. The Bill is a Section 75 Bill and arose as a result of a Constitutional Court judgement handed down in 2020.

The Constitutional Court declared the Electoral Act 73 of 1998 unconstitutional to the extent that it requires that adult citizens may be elected to the National Assembly and provincial legislatures only through their membership of political parties. Further, that the declaration is prospective with effect of the date of the order, but suspended for 24 months to give Parliament an opportunity to remedy the defect that gave rise to unconstitutionality.

The Bill aims to address this defect in the Electoral Act, so as to bring the Act into compliance with the Constitution. In the main, the Bill expands the Act to include independent candidates to contest elections in the National Assembly and provincial legislatures.

The Chairperson of the committee, Ms Shahidabibi Shaikh, told the committee that Parliament received an extension on the deadline for this Bill, which must be assented to by the President by 10 December 2022 to ensure that the elections take place in 2024.

She said: “The task we are confronted with must be completed in record time. In this light, we have developed an intense draft programme for the committee, which is being finalised. In the next meeting, the committee will engage with the IEC [Electoral Commission of South Africa] on the formula used for the calculation of seats and other related matters.”

The committee heard that the Bill which was adopted by the NA recently is considerably improved. Members of the committee engaged the Minister and the department on a variety of aspects of the Bill. Dr Motsoaledi told the committee that there was massive mobilization against the Bill by organisations who believed that there was something grossly wrong with it.

While the committee welcomed the Bill, it also acknowledged that there are still areas for future engagement with the department.

ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON SECURITY AND JUSTICE, MS SHAHIDABIBI SHAIKH.

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