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Parliament Asks For Extension On Electoral Act Amendment

Parliament has requested a six-month extension of the Electoral Act amendment deadline.

This will allow it to finalise a law that would allow independent candidates to stand as MPs and MPLs in the national and provincial elections.

In June 2020, the Constitutional Court ruled that the Electoral Act 73 of 1998 was unconstitutional because it barred independent candidates from participating in the national elections.

Parliament says — given the significance of the Bill and the required public participation process — it won’t be able to meet the June deadline.  

Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said: “The presiding officers of the parliament have filed papers with the Constitutional Court requesting a six month extension of the deadline for the finalisation of the amendment of the Electoral Act.

“Given the significance of the Bill and the required public participation process, it has since become apparent that Parliament will not be in a position to pass an amendment to the Electoral Act before the June deadline. The Bill was only introduced to the National Assembly on 10 January 2022 – leaving Parliament with only five months to process a Bill of such public significance and interest.

“Accordingly, the Presiding Officers of Parliament  approached the apex Court to seek an extension in order to enable Parliament to properly deliberate on the Bill before it and to ensure that citizens across the country are afforded an opportunity to meaningfully participate and share their views on the Electoral Amendment Bill,” Mothapo said.

“This Bill is amending the electoral system and therefore its enactment involves complex policy issues which impact on all adult citizens. A number of other laws, other than the Electoral Act, may need to be amended.

“Parliament has undertaken numerous actions to facilitate the process since the Court’s judgement. These include meetings between the Committees, Minister and the Electoral Commission of South Africa and interested stakeholders.”