Delay in finalising the Electoral Amendment Bill could impact on the 2024 elections: IEC

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Electoral Commission CEO Sy Mamabolo says that whatever parliament decides regarding the final Electoral Amendment Bill, will have implications on the logistics and integrity of the 2024 elections.

The Bill, which is currently before parliament, aims to ensure that independent candidates can run in the national and provincial elections, as per the directive of a Constitutional Court decision in June 2020.

Mamabolo was addressing civil society organisations during a workshop where the entities are seeking to draft a unified position on the draft legislation.

Parliament was earlier this year granted an extension until December 2022 to finalise the Bill, however, a fresh round of public consultations has been reopened jeopardising the already tight time frames required to prepare for the 2024 elections.

“2024 is likely to be a watershed election and if that is so it, therefore, means the preparation and the administration of that election must be well done so that whoever emerges victorious can claim their victory without the loser saying I lost because of the poor management of the electoral process. It has to be a well-managed election but to have a well-managed election you need to have certainly at least 18 months before,“ said Mamabolo.

Meanwhile, Deputy Chairperson Janet Love has cautioned civil society organisations to be mindful of time-frames for the 2024 poll, in their discussions on the Electoral Amendment Act currently in parliament.

The organisations convened a meeting to discuss what needs to be done to give effect to a 2020 Constitutional Court ruling.

The court ruled that Independents be accommodated to run in national and provincial elections. Many civil society organisations are pushing for a significant revamp of the country’s electoral system.

Love says time-frames, as required by law, towards the next election are already highly constrained.

“The election of 2024 must happen between the 8th of May and the 5th of August. So let’s say we are looking at May, what does that mean? The proclamation to accommodate the 93-day timetable is in February, what does that mean? By February registration closes which means that you have to have two registration weekends before. We have in the middle of that the festive season, we are talking about a process where everyone understands what is required no later than October,” she said.