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Motsoaledi mum on electoral reform until Cabinet approves new policy

The Constitutional Court ruled in June last year that the Electoral Act was unconstitutional in so far as it only allowed for the election of members of Parliament and provincial legislatures through political parties.

FILE: Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has told Parliament's home affairs committee that a number of other acts will also need to be amended. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/Eyewitness News.

CAPE TOWN - Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi on Tuesday said he would be briefing ministers in the justice crime prevention and security cluster this week on a draft policy that would allow for independent candidates to stand in national and provincial elections.

The Constitutional Court ruled in June last year that the Electoral Act was unconstitutional in so far as it only allowed for the election of members of Parliament and provincial legislatures through political parties.

READ MORE: ConCourt rules independent candidates may in future contest elections

It gave Parliament 24 months, until June 2022, to fix the defects in the act.

Motsoaledi has told Parliament's home affairs committee that a number of other acts will also need to be amended.

The minister said the Department of Home Affairs had drawn up draft policy on reforming the electoral system but he could give no details until the policy had been approved by Cabinet.

He said a technical team from the justice, crime prevention and security cluster was briefed in November, and he was expecting to brief a special sitting of ministers in the cluster soon.

“They regard this item to be so serious that it needs special attention and I was promised that sometime this week, that special session will be called whereby I will open that policy officially to them.”

ALSO READ: Independent candidacy may not lead to single election - experts

The policy will then go to a joint Cabinet committee meeting of all government clusters, probably in the next two weeks, before going to Cabinet for final approval, possibly in mid-March. Only then, will it be presented in Parliament.

Motsoaledi said home affairs was setting up a task team to look at amending not only the Electoral Act but also laws governing party funding, including the act on private funding, which only comes into effect in April. He said the local Government Municipal Demarcation Act would also need to be amended.

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