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DA to petition Ramaphosa over Electoral Laws Amendment Bill

The NCOP passed the bill last week, paving the way for the president to sign it into law in time for general elections this year.

FILE: President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses South African Local Government Association National Members Assembly at Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre, Durban. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN – The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it will petition President Cyril Ramaphosa to send the Electoral Laws Amendment Bill back to Parliament, insisting its passage in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) last week was unprocedural.

On Thursday, NCOP chairperson Thandi Modise ruled against any consideration of proposed DA amendments to the Bill, changes that aimed to allow for more South Africans living abroad to vote in the coming elections.

As it stands, the Bill restricts citizens living overseas to vote only at South African embassies, high commissions or consulates, and requires that they show both their ID and passports when doing so.

The DA’s proposed amendments would have given the Independent Electoral Commission the power to decide on other voting venues, making it easier to vote for South Africans living long distances from South African foreign missions – and to allow for them to show just one form of ID.

DA leader in the NCOP, Cathy Labuschagne, claims that Modise acted "unprocedurally" in not allowing the amendments to be considered.

“We’re requesting the president to look at the situation and refer the Bill back to the National Assembly.”

In her ruling, Modise said the amendments would be tantamount to introducing a new Bill and directed the party to approach the National Assembly directly.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)

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