Parliament, Wednesday, 23 March 2022 – The residents of the City of Cape Town are concerned that the Electoral Amendment Bill doesn't attempt to offer solutions that were presented by various structures that were established to look into the need for electoral reform.

The committee held yesterday in Khayelitsha the first of the three public hearings to be conducted in the Western Cape. The Western Cape is the last province to hold public participation process to garner views of the people on the Bill. Rejecting the Bill, a majority of participants in Khayelitsha highlighted that the proposed Bill favours the status quo and falls short of offering a solution that is in line with the Constitutional Court judgement, the majority view of the Ministerial Advisory Committee and the Van Zyl Slabbert report.

The participants told the committee that the simple and straightforward proportional representation principle was part of the 1994 transitional arrangements for the country which was in transition not as an eternal commandment.

Some participants argued that the Bill doesn’t ensure accountability and that it doesn’t give independent candidates equal opportunity to be voted into the provincial and National Assembly. Furthermore, they expressed concerns that discarding of votes damages both voters’ and independent candidates’ rights and that not establishing a constituency-based system will continue to directly affect service delivery as it is minimal or no accountability.

The participants urged the committee to ensure that the Bill is not passed into law in the current form to ensure that South Africa doesn’t miss the opportunity to ensure greater accountability.

The clause on election deposit was also raised as a concern, with some participants suggesting that the exorbitant amounts required from independent candidates were a way of exclusion through legislation as it will be difficult for ordinary citizens to raise the funds needed to participate during elections.

Some participants rejected the Bill on grounds that South Africa doesn’t have enough capacity currently to conduct elections with independent candidates that can be declared in the end as free and fair. Also, the view was that the threshold for the nomination of candidates must be over 20 000 signatures and that the Electoral Commission of South Africa must be in a position to verify them individually. Also, there were concerns that the current system led to voter apathy and this trajectory will continue to decline if the voting system does not speak to the aspirations of the county.

Those that supported the Bill highlighted that there is a need to abide by the Constitutional Court judgement, but they cautioned that in cases of mid-term vacancies, there should not be a need for by-elections as that will happen perpetually. Also, in relation to the cooling-off period, there was a suggestion that an independent candidate be given a year from the date a candidate was a member of a political party to being an independent candidate.

Despite its good objectives, the participants argued that the Bill will be meaningless if it doesn’t consider the funding of independent candidates to ensure that they participate on an equal footing.

Today, 23 March 2022, the committee moves to Citrusdal and Mossell Bay districts to conduct public hearings on the Bill. These will be the last two hearings the committee will hold across the country. The committee is satisfied with the inputs presented and assured participants that it will consider all their views when it considers the Bill.

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 (Citrusdal)
Date: Wednesday, 23 March 2022
Venue: Citrusdal Thusong Service Centre
Time: 10:00

Details of the hearings (Citrusdal)
Date: Wednesday, 23 March 2022
Venue: Mossel bay Town Hall
Time: 10:00


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