Parliament has finally passed the Electoral Amendment Bill ahead of the February 28th deadline set by the Constitutional Court. The Bill provides for independent candidates to also contest elections in elections at both the provincial and national levels.
This comes after the Constitutional Court found that the Electoral Act was unconstitutional because it did not allow independent candidates to contest seats in the provincial legislatures and Parliament.
The Bill was sent back to the National Assembly late last year after the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) came up with material amendments that required public consultations when it was brought to it for concurrence.
The Bill was passed with 218 votes. 81 members of Parliament (MPs) voted against it. The African National Congress (ANC) accepted the adoption.
“House chairperson we table the report on this bill confident despite the necessary delays. This Bill represents the best version of our collective efforts. The Bill also sets out the framework of what also needs to be done in the transitional period as due consideration is given to the broader electoral reform,” says the ANC MP and Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, Mosa Chabane.
But some on the opposition benches had mixed feelings.
“But as we consider this Bill we must consider its glaring flaws. The Bill was meant to facilitate the participation of independent candidates in national and provincial elections. Instead, it has become a completely irrational piece of legislation that has a cynical attempt to meet the requirements of the constitutional court and insults the electorate,” says Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Andrian Roos.
Al Jama-ah took a swipe at the official opposition.
“So the votes of the independent candidates will go to the DA from people who did not vote for them. So I can’t understand the DA has now reservations because they gonna get a lot of votes seeing that honourable Steenhuisen is gonna be the new President of South Africa,” says Al Jama-ah’s leader, Ganief Hendricks.
Now that the Bill has been endorsed by both houses of Parliament, it is up to President Cyril Ramaphosa to sign it into law paving the way for independent candidates to contest next year’s General elections.
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