Parliament asks for another extension to finalise Electoral Amendment Bill

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Parliament has lodged an urgent application to the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) to ask for another extension for the finalisation of the Electoral Amendment Bill, until February next year.

The Bill, which came about after a ConCourt judgment that independent candidates should be able to contest provincial and national elections, was sent back to the National Assembly after the National Council of Provinces made further changes.

The deadline set by the court to have the Bill finalised is Saturday, December 10th. An extension is requested to allow for a further round of public hearings on issues such as the number of signatures for independents and parties, as well as the establishment of a panel to look at broader electoral reform.

“As a consequence, it will not be possible to pass the Bill by 10 December 2022 and it is, therefore, necessary to seek a further extension of the suspension period to 28 February 2023. This short extension is designed to permit adequate public participation in respect of the proposed amendments while ensuring that the Electoral Commission has sufficient time to prepare for the 2024 elections,” says Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo.

Parliament set to ask for another extension to finalise amendment to Electoral Act:

Contesting the Bill

In October, Non-Government Organisation (NGO) the Rivonia Circle echoed other civil organisations who were contesting the controversial Electoral Amendment Bill, saying the bill in its current form remains unconstitutional and must be challenged.

Chairperson of the Rivonia Circle Songezo Zibi said they are adamant in their stance in opposing the Bill.

Zibi said, “The Rivonia Circle has been involved together with other civil society groups in making further submissions to this bill and opposing it in its current form. We believe that in its current form it is unconstitutional and to let it stand unchallenged would be wrong, but I think it’s important for the listeners to understand that the National Council of Provinces must still do its work properly.”