Parliament, Saturday, 2 December 2023 – The Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs has resolved that the process to appoint the Electoral Reform Consultation Panel must be reopened to enable a greater pool of people with expertise in different electoral aspects including representation. The committee received a list of nine nominated candidates from the Minister of Home Affairs and while it welcomed the shortlist, it was of the view that the shortlist lacked representation in certain areas, a challenge that could be resolved by reopening the process of nomination.
The Electoral Reform Consultation Panel is a critical body that will look at broader electoral reform and was legislated in section 23 (9) (b) of the recently passed Electoral Amendment Act of 2023. Of major concern to the committee was a lack of representation of women and youth in this critical body. Also, the committee was of the view that the intensive process requires broader skills set and experience to ensure a quality final process as the shortlist submitted to the committee had deficiencies.
The committee noted the reasons presented regarding the challenges to meet legislated deadline, but it cautioned that administrative processes must be enhanced to ensure that the panel is able to deliver on its mandate, 12 months after the 2024 elections. The committee views this task as critical to chart a new trajectory in the country’s democratic order.
The committee has called on the Minister to engage with the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) to reconsider its stance on allowing employees of the commission to avail themselves to participate in the panel. The committee is of the considered view that the critical skills set would greatly enhance the work of the panel and would offer specific technical skills needed in the panel.
Based on that, the committee has resolved that the Minister reopen the nomination process for more nominations. The committee was also of the view that clear deadlines must be set to prevent unnecessary delays. The committee has also resolved to encourage the department to enhance its communication efforts to ensure that the broader society is aware of the reopened process. It has also encouraged South Africans to avail themselves when the nominations process is reopened to contribute to the process of charting a way forward for the country’s democratic process.
Meanwhile, the committee has welcomed additional human resources to ports of entry to ensure seamless movement of people and goods during the festive season. It is confident that 318 additional members will enhance the operational efficiency of the Border Management Authority (BMA).
The committee is of the view that the operational plan set by the BMA addresses all areas of risk and will ensure that the entity is ready, responsive, and ensure the efficiency of port operations and to deal with any security threats and risks that may emerge during the upcoming festive season. The committee has called for effective implementation to ensure that movement of people and goods is seamless. The committee has acknowledged that the BMA has done a thorough risk assessment which will ensure adequate response.
It is also worth noting that the BMA has interacted and agreed with local law enforcement authorities to assist the BMA with control of traffic towards the border. The committee also welcomed the extension of hours of various ports which will assist in the processing of more people and goods.
The committee will continue to assess implementation of the plan and is hopeful that the plan will deliver envisioned outputs.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON HOME AFFAIRS, MR MOSA CHABANE.
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