Electoral Amendment Act signals SA’s democracy is maturing: SAFTU

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Labour federation SAFTU says the Electoral Amendment Act’s inclusion of independent candidates to contest in national and provincial elections is an indication that the country’s democracy is maturing.

Under the legislation, independent candidates can contest for seats in the National Assembly and provincial legislatures for the first time.

SAFTU says citizens need to be clear about who they want to vote for in next month’s elections.

Spokesperson Trevor Shaku says they have the responsibility to ensure that workers have sufficient voter education.

“We’ve got to, as the South African Federation of Trade Unions, are advising our workers to be cognizant of this particular dynamic and that the lot of choices that have been created by the new changes in the legislature to allow independent candidates to stand, do not necessarily mean you should just vote for anyone. But you’ve got to look at the class projects of the people who are running. At the class project of the parties that are running.”

VIDEO | National Assembly passes Electoral Amendment Bill: Mkhangeli Matomela

Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission (IEC) says besides dealing with budget cuts in an election year, they also have extra expenses flowing from the Electoral Amendment Act.

IEC officials appeared before Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee to among other things, discuss its budget and timetable for the 2024 general elections.

The commission’s Chief Financial Officer Dawn Mbatha says they are going into elections with a budget cut of R281 million and with the financial implications of the Electoral Amendment  Act, such as the introduction of a third ballot paper.

Mbatha says, “The projected longer ballot and this does have financial implications, also the impact of the longer ballot has an impact on electoral material like boxes and security seals. Also, the increase of staff and increase expected in litigation.”

VIDEO: IEC media briefing on state of readiness for 2024 general elections: