MPs pass Electoral Laws Amendment Bill ahead of 2021 municipal polls

The bill could see even more politicians serving in municipal councils and provincial legislatures.

Parliament of South Africa in Cape Town. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - The National Assembly on Thursday passed the Electoral Laws Amendment Bill, which could see even more politicians serving in municipal councils and provincial legislatures.

The bill had also intended to introduce electronic voting, but this was rejected by members of the home affairs committee.

Minister Aaron Motsoaledi introduced the bill to the House for adoption on Thursday.

The Electoral Laws Amendment Bill seeks to amend three pieces of legislation, namely: The Electoral Commission Act, the Electoral Act, and the Local Government: Municipal Electoral Act.

This was in preparation for the forthcoming general local government elections in 2021.

MPs had pointed out some concerns like the introduction of electronic voting. There were also public concerns around clauses which sought to empower the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to prescribe a different voting method for parliamentary, provincial, and local elections.

As a result, the committee resolved to remove clauses 14 and 21, where it stated that the IEC could prescribe a different voting method.

“I think that it is correct that members of the portfolio committee rejected those clauses given that fact that that is a policy matter that shouldn’t be left to the IEC on its own,” said African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) MP Steve Swart.

Motsoaledi said the bill would also redetermine the size of provincial legislatures.

“We are proposing that the IEC pre-authorise to redetermine the sizes of provincial legislatures ahead of each and every provincial election,” the minister said.

The bill will now go to the National Council of Provinces for further processing.

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