The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) adopted the Electoral Amendment Bill in November 2022.
- The Home Affairs Committee scrutinised comments relating to the Electoral Amendment Bill.
- South Africans are clear that not only political parties should govern the country.
- The NCOP adopted the bill in November 2022.
South Africans want elected leaders who are free from the internal wrangling and corruption of political parties.
This was the common thread provided by citizens who submitted responses to Parliament on the latest amendments to the Electoral Amendment Bill.
On Wednesday, the National Assembly’s Home Affairs Committee scrutinised the comments during a meeting with department officials.
In November 2022, the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) adopted the bill after making further amendments to that which the National Assembly adopted the previous month.
The NCOP made two major changes, which were proposed by Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi.
Chief among the changes was a clause providing for the establishment of a panel of experts to consider more expansive electoral reform than what the current bill provided for.
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The other involved changing the threshold for supporter signatures, bringing what was needed by a party to register in line with what an independent candidate needed to contest an election.
In his submission to the committee, Conrad Claasen said:
It should not be based on any political party’s internal wrangling and corruption. We need to be able to decide which candidates are selected to stand and then vote for whom we believe is the best candidate.
“There should be no political party involved in the choosing of the candidate nor of their funding, which should be paid for by funds from the IEC to each individual candidate with their understanding that a full audit will be done about the funds that were spent. No outside funding should be allowed at all. Only individuals who are not part of the hierarchy of a political party should be allowed to stand.”
Veronica Haupt, in her submission, said the Constitutional Court had already ruled that the current Electoral Act was unconstitutional. This was largely because it did not allow independent candidates to contest the national and provincial elections.
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“So it was agreed that the Act would be amended. This should have been done by Parliament, not handed over to the Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC). Nevertheless, the MAC produced an amended bill and presented it to the Minister of Home Affairs, with the majority support of the MAC. This majority support was ignored by the minister, who submitted minor changes, only not in the spirit of the ConCourt judgment,” she said.
Last month, the Constitutional Court granted Parliament another extension to the deadline it had set for legislation to allow independent candidates to participate in national and provincial elections.
On Thursday, Motsoaledi and his top officials are expected to respond to the submissions.