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Parliament, Wednesday, 27 April 2022 - Parliament yesterday, 26 April, filed papers with the Constitutional Court requesting a six month extension of the deadline for the finalisation of the amendment of the Electoral Act.
On June 11 2020, the Constitutional Court ruled that “…the Electoral Act 73 of 1998 is 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.”
In its ruling the court suspended its order of the Act’s invalidity for 24 months. The 24 months period expires on 10 June 2022 for Parliament to make the necessary amendments to the Electoral Act “to remedy the defect giving rise to the unconstitutionality.”
Given the significance of the Bill and the required public participation process, it has since become apparent that Parliament will not be in a position to pass an amendment to the Electoral Act before the June deadline. The Bill was only introduced to the National Assembly on 10 January 2022 – leaving Parliament with only five months to process a Bill of such public significance and interest.
Accordingly, the Presiding Officers of Parliament approached the apex Court to seek an extension in order to enable Parliament to properly deliberate on the Bill before it and to ensure that citizens across the country are afforded an opportunity to meaningfully participate and share their views on the Electoral Amendment Bill.
This Bill is amending the electoral system and therefore its enactment involves complex policy issues which impact on all adult citizens. A number of other laws, other than the Electoral Act, may need to be amended.
Parliament has undertaken numerous actions to facilitate the process since the Court’s judgement. These include meetings between the Committees, Minister and the Electoral Commission of South Africa immediately after the Court handed down the judgement to map out the road ahead.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA
Enquiries: Moloto Mothapo 082 370 6930
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