Parliament, Monday 7 March 2022 – The Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs today kick-started a comprehensive nationwide public consultation process to solicit public comments on the Electoral Amendment Bill.
The Bill seeks to introduce amendments to the Electoral Act 73 of 1998 after the Constitutional Court ruled that it was unconstitutional, by not allowing independent candidates to contest for elections to the National Assembly and provincial legislatures. The court gave Parliament 24 months to remedy the defect.
Today, the delegation of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs listened to inputs from community members in Limpopo during public hearings that were held at Thulamela where participants expressed different views on the Bill.
While expressing their support for the Bill and its intention to allow citizens to contest national and provincial elections without political party membership, some residents questioned the implementation of the new system.
Others warned that the proposed changes to the electoral system could result in very long ballot papers, and that multiple-page ballots could be problematic to both the Electoral Commission and the voters, and require more days for voting.
Some residents told the committee that the Bill was long overdue, and that Parliament and provincial legislatures should be constituted the same way as municipal councils, where independent candidates contest for elections without membership of a political party.
Committee Chairperson, Mr Mosa Chabane, said the public consultation was going to be an intense process as all stakeholders must be given an opportunity to make inputs on the Bill.
“As a committee we want to listen to what society thinks about the bill which seeks to respond to an order of the Constitutional Court to allow independent candidates to contest national and provincial elections. The committee has not taken any decision, we want to listen to South Africans on how can we choose an option that will be most democratic,” said Mr Chabane.
The committee would also like to correct false reports that some people were turned away from the public hearings venue in Thohoyandou. No one was turned away. In order to adhere to covid protocol, when the hall had reached the allowed capacity, the residents were asked to wait outside and those inside were asked to leave the hall after they expressed their views on the Bill, to make way for those outside to come inside.
Tomorrow the committee will hold public hearings in Tzaneen.
Details of the hearings are as follows:
Date: Tuesday, 8 March 2022
Venue: Lenyenye Community Hall (Tzaneen)
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON HOME AFFAIRS, MR MOSA CHABANE.
For media enquiries or interviews with the Chairperson of the Committee, please contact:
Name: Sakhile Mokoena
Cell: 081 705 2130