The head of research at the non-profit organisation Rivonia Circle, Lukhona Mnguni has described the Electoral Amendment Bill as irrational, saying it will not automatically lead to equal votes among the electorate.
The National Assembly will on Thursday vote on the Amended Bill which will usher in changes to South Africa’s electoral system.
Civil society organisations such as the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, Defend our Democracy and the Rivonia Circle are calling on Members of Parliament to reject it in its current form.
They say the Bill does not favour voters, is unconstitutional and undermines the foundation of the country’s democracy.
Mnguni agrees, “They are about to vote for the electoral system that doesn’t exist anywhere in the world. They are literally walking towards an experiment in our democracy. There is nowhere in the world, where this system exists. It is also an irrational system. For an independent candidate to contest a political party, does not mathematically lead to a situation where our votes are equal and our votes carry the same value.”
Mnguni speaks to SAfm’s First Take:
Maimane slams the Bill
In September, One South Africa Movement leader Mmusi Maimane said Parliament should be charged with contempt of court with regards to its handling of the Electoral Amendment Bill.
Maimane, one of the main champions of the cause to see communities choose individuals to directly represent them at national and provincial level, said he will be launching a political party resulting from his frustration with the Bill in its current form.
He said Parliament has sabotaged the process to protect political parties in breach of a Constitutional Court order in 2020 that Parliament amend the law to accommodate independents in general elections.
“Parliament has had what you call malicious compliance with the Constitutional Court. I would argue that they should be charged with contempt of the Constitutional Court and Parliament has failed.”
In accordance with a Constitutional Court ruling in 2020, Parliament was tasked with ensuring the Electoral Act accommodates independents to run for national and provincial office.
Parliament, after asking for a six-month extension from the deadline of June 2022, is now chasing a December deadline but with a draft Bill which Maimane says sabotages independents.
“If you look at the current Bill that they have proposed, it’s like saying to somebody if we were running the Comrades Marathon, if you want to be independent you can run but you must run barefoot you must run backwards, and you are not going to get anything to drink. Qhuba and see if you win. That’s pretty much what they have done, they have said yeah, we agree the ConCourt says we must include these people but we are going to make it impossible. Even little things, you need 15 000 signatures, a political party only needs 1 000, the deposit is higher for independents than a political party, you only can participate in a province not nationally, they have literally made it impossible.”