To download a soundbite of Parliament Spokesperson, Mr Moloto Mothapo, on this statement please click on the following link:

Parliament, Tuesday 06 December 2022 – Parliament has lodged an urgent application to the Constitutional Court requesting that it be granted a further extension of the deadline for the finalisation of the Electoral Amendment Bill - until February 2023.

In June 2020 the Constitutional Court declared that the Electoral Act, 1998 (Act No. 73 of 1998), insofar as it makes it impossible for candidates to stand for political office without being members of political parties, was constitutionally invalid. The court suspended its ruling for 24 months and gave Parliament until 10 June 2022 to rectify the constitutional defects in the Act and to make provision for independent candidates to contest elections to the National Assembly (NA) and the provincial legislatures.

The Electoral Amendment Bill was introduced to Parliament by the Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, on 10 January 2022. Due to the nature of the Bill, the huge interest in it as well as the public participation process embarked upon, it became apparent that Parliament would not be able to pass the Bill by 10 June 2022. Parliament thus approached the Constitutional Court for an extension of the deadline and was granted such extension until 10 December 2022 to pass the Bill.

Following exhaustive deliberations and an extensive public participation process by the NA, the House passed the Bill on 20 October 2022 before sending it to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence. However, after considering certain concerns raised by various parties and stakeholders the NCOP has, in late November 2022, proposed various amendments to strengthen the Bill.

These changes proposed by the NCOP, which are substantial and material in nature, also speak to the proper deliberative process followed by Parliament and require further public consultations. In light of the materiality of the NCOP’s proposed amendments - and the fact that they introduce matters on which the public had no opportunity to comment - the NA is obliged to facilitate further public participation.

The proposed amendments that particularly require further public consultations include, contentions that there is a need for broader electoral reform - even broader than merely including independent candidates in the 2024 elections and concerns that the Bill treats independent candidates unfavourably compared to political parties when it comes to the signatures of support that must be obtained for inclusion on the ballot paper.

The practical consequence of these important amendments proposed is that the Bill has had to be referred back to the National Assembly for consideration. As a consequence, it will not be possible to pass the Bill by 10 December 2022 and it is, therefore, necessary to seek a further extension of the suspension period to 28 February 2023.

This short extension is designed to permit adequate public participation in respect of the proposed amendments while ensuring that the Electoral Commission has sufficient time to prepare for the 2024 elections.

There is no prejudice to any party should this further extension be granted.


Enquiries: Moloto Mothapo