Parliament, Monday, 21 March 2022 – Residents of Gqeberha are concerned that the passing of the Electoral Amendment Bill will potentially cause chaos at the provincial and national levels which will have dire consequences for service delivery.
The completion of the Eastern Cape leg of the public hearings on the Electoral Amendment Bill means the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs has now completed hearings in 8 of the 9 provinces with the Western Cape following this week.
The majority of Gqeberha participants has rejected the Bill. A key reason put forward was the fear that independent candidates might exacerbate corruption within South Africa which will result in continuous poor service delivery.
The assertion was predicated on experiences faced within the local government sphere with many municipalities unable to run stable administrations. Residents also raised their fear that the passing of the Bill will give more power to independent candidates who do not have accountability structures to hold them accountable.
Despite this, participants also highlighted that while they did not support the inclusion of independent candidates they have accepted that the inclusion of independent candidates could not be prevented and that this is the natural process of our democracy maturing.
There were also those that argued that the Bill in its current form undermined the spirit of the Freedom Charter and that complete electoral reform was needed and not just a cosmetic amendment to allow independent candidates to participate.
Residents further called for greater accountability to be made the central feature of the electoral system. Moreover, the trend of voter apathy could be resolved by having candidates that are known by communities.
Those who supported the Bill highlighted that the Bill will lead to heightened competition which is desirable in democratic dispensations. However, despite the support, residents called for the Bill to be explicit on the payment of election deposits and that independent candidates must also declare their funding as political parties do, while they stressed that independents must meet the same criteria as political parties in order to qualify for elections.
On Tuesday the committee moves to Cape Town for the Western Cape hearings. The committee invites all individuals and interested organisations to come and make inputs on the Bill, to ensure that the final product is reflective of their will and aspirations. All Covid-19 regulations will be implemented to ensure the safety of all participants.
Details of the hearings
Date: Tuesday, 22 March 2022
Venue: Khayelitsha Thusong Service Centre
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE LEADER OF DELEGATION OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON HOME AFFAIRS, MR BRANDON PILLAY.
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