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Concerns raised over time period set for Parly to amend electoral laws

The Constitutional Court gave Parliament exactly two years to fix the anomaly forbidding independent candidates from standing for Parliament.

FILE: Parliament of South Africa in Cape Town. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN – Parliament’s Home Affairs committee on Thursday said that it might need more than 24 months to change the country’s electoral laws to cater to independent candidates.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) briefed the committee following the landmark Constitutional Court ruling handed down on 11 June.

The apex court said that the Electoral Act was unconstitutional as it made no provision for individuals who were not members of parties to be elected to the national and provincial legislatures as independents.

The Constitutional Court gave Parliament exactly two years to fix the anomaly forbidding independent candidates from standing for Parliament.

The IEC briefing also came not too long after ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina said that the time allowed to Parliament to deal with such a complex matter was unfair.

Home Affairs committee chairperson Bongani Bongo agreed, saying that Parliament might not have enough time.

“We have been given 24 months to finalise the matter, but we are not sure whether the 24 months is enough. Our discussions on the matter will begin to guide us on whether the period is enough,” Bongo said.

IEC chairperson Glen Mashinini said that the ruling would also impact preparations for the 2024 national and provincial elections.

“We cannot overemphasis that the time left, therefore, becomes of very much essential because these elections are less than four years away, and usually it takes an average of 18 to 24 months for the commission to prepare for the elections,” Mashinini said.

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