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The Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs invites you to comment on additional amendments, proposed by the National Council of Provinces, to the Electoral Amendment Bill
- With the introduction of the Electoral Amendment Bill [B1-2022] in January 2022, the Committee first advertised this Bill and held virtual public hearings in March 2022.
- The Committee then publicised and conducted in-person hearings across all nine (9) provinces. While deliberating on this Bill, the Committee requested the National Assembly for permission to amend other sections of the Electoral Act, 1998, that were not in the Bill. Some of the amendments proposed then were of a material nature and the Committee had to re-advertise those amendments to the Bill for comments. Following the advertisement of these amendments, the Bill [B1B-2022] was adopted by the National Assembly and sent to the National Council of Provinces.
- The National Council of Provinces has proposed material changes to the Bill [B1B-2022] that the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs consider important to re-advertise and ensure that stakeholders and interested parties have a chance to make comments on these new proposed amendments.
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The proposed amendments from the National Council of Provinces to the Bill [B1B-2022] are as follows:
- An amendment to clause 3 of the Bill by proposing the inclusion of a further paragraph to section 27 of the Electoral Act, 1998, (which section is already being amended by the Bill). This proposed amendment will address the disparity between party candidates and independent candidates as the Bill currently only requires independent candidates to produce signatures supporting their candidature totalling 20% of the quota for a seat in the previous comparable election. The proposed amendment to this clause in the Bill now intends to provide that parties, who are registered but not represented in the National Assembly or provincial legislatures, will also have to produce the same amount of signatures in support of their party when intending to contest an election. The amendment further intends that, should multiple regions be contested by unrepresented parties, the highest quota of the comparable election determines the number of signatures. For the National Assembly (regions), the signatures may be collected from any registered voter on the voters’ roll, while for the provincial legislatures, the signatures must be collected from the relevant provincial segment of the voters’ roll. Once the independent candidates and registered parties are represented in the National Assembly or provincial legislatures, they would be exempt from this requirement.
- Amendments to clause 6 of the Bill to bring the wording and requirements imposed on independent candidates to be aligned with the requirements now being imposed on parties by the amendment to clause 3.
- Amendments to clause 21 of the Bill dealing with Schedule 1A, which include:
- an amendment removing “most” votes and substituting this phrase with the phrase “highest proportion” of votes;
- an amendment in order to rectify the forfeiture calculation, as the Bill incorrectly excluded those independent candidates who have gained one seat from the calculation;
- an amendment to the type of calculation formula that will apply when an independent candidate must make a choice between either taking up a seat in the provincial legislature or the National Assembly;
- deletions to certain phrases that are redundant and errors that appeared in the Bill; and
- an inclusion of a new item 24(3), which is required if seats need to be protected during recalculations arising from vacancies after the election results have been determined.
- The inclusion of an entirely new clause 23 in the Bill (which will not form part of the Electoral Act) establishing an Electoral Reform Consultation Panel to investigate, consult on and make recommendations in respect of potential reforms of the electoral system.