‘Electoral Amendment Bill will have implications on logistics and integrity of 2024 elections’

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Electoral Commission CEO Sy Mamabolo says that whatever Parliament decides regarding the final Electoral Amendment Bill, it 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.

“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 they 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 in order to have a well managed election you need to have certainty at least 18 months before.”

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

CASAC on the Bill

Earlier, Executive Secretary of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) Lawson Naidoo said the Bill does not facilitate free and fair elections.

He was speaking at the workshop of civil society organisation.

Naidoo says a constituency-based system, similar to that used for local government, is required to meaningfully accommodate independent candidates.

“The current draft before Parliament, the current bill says that each of the provinces constitutes a constituency pretty much as they do now. The nine provinces we have a regional to national ballot and a national to national ballot is how we currently choose, that doesn’t change in terms of what is being proposed in the current bill. It merely says independents can contest within the province and will be competing against the resources that big political parties have, that surely is not a level playing field.”