20 October 2022
The ANC Parliamentary Caucus supports the passing of the Electoral Amendment Bill in the National Assembly (NA) this afternoon. Pursuant to the Constitutional Court ruling in June 2020, Parliament was tasked to review the electoral system to allow independent candidates to run for political office.
Allowing individuals to contest elections broadens the options for people to choose their public representatives, and we believe the inclusion of independent candidates serves to strengthen our democracy.
While we acknowledge concerns raised regarding the required percentage of signatures needed by independent candidates indicating support, it must be noted that the Electoral Amendment Bill primarily deals with the Constitutional Court judgment, which was only about independent candidates being allowed to contest elections.
The Bill will go to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) after it has been passed by the NA. The NCOP will conduct further public consultation, and we advise parties that seek to influence the Bill can still do so.
It behoves us to remind the media and civil society groups seeking to impose sweeping changes to our electoral laws that the Constitutional Court made no ruling on the direct election of the President or members of the Executive.
The Court also did not direct Parliament on an electoral system to be enacted; instead, it left a choice to Parliament as long as the enacted system would be constitutional.
After extensive public consultation and consideration of public submissions, substantive amendments to the original Bill have been made, which include the dropping of the cooling-off period, the adoption of the 20% quota of signatures required for an independent candidate to support their candidature, the requirement for an election deposit, and the number of party agents which will be determined by the Electoral Commission of South Africa.
It is also important to note that the Bill gives the responsibility to the IEC to provide regulations regarding registration to participate in the elections.
The ANC believes in building a united South African nation where everyone enjoys the right to be represented in government. The ANC has supported proportional representation in our electoral system since the dawn of our democracy to ensure that every vote counts and that all political parties are represented proportionally in Parliament and provincial legislatures.
The ANC is satisfied that the Electoral Amendment Bill does respond to the Constitutional Court judgment, which declared the Electoral Act of 1998 unconstitutional.
Issued by the Office of the Chief Whip, Hon. Pemmy Majodina
Advisor to the Chief Whip
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