The Constitutional Court in its judgment in New Nation Movement NPC & others v President of the Republic of South Africa & others  ZACC 11, declared the Electoral Act, 1998 (Act No. 73 of 1998) (the ‘‘Act’’), unconstitutional to the extent that it requires that adult citizens may be elected to the National Assembly and provincial legislatures only through their membership of political parties. 1.2 The Constitutional Court directed Parliament to rectify the impugned sections of the Act within a period of 24 months from the date of the judgment, which 24 months is to be calculated from June 2020 to June 2022.
In response to the Constitutional Court judgement, the Minister of Home Affairs established a Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) to explore a variety of options and hear from a range of stakeholders. Cabinet considered and approved the submission of the Report of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Electoral System Reform to Parliament on 24 November 2021.
The purpose of the Bill is to amend the Electoral Act, 1998, so as to insert certain definitions consequential to the expansion of this Act
- to include independent candidates as contesters to elections in the National Assembly and provincial legislatures;
- to provide that registered parties must submit a declaration confirming that all its candidates are registered to vote in the region or province where an election will take place;
- to provide for the nomination of independent candidates to contest elections in the National Assembly or provincial legislatures;
- to provide for the requirements and qualifications which must be met by persons who wish to be registered as independent candidates;
- to provide the procedure to follow for a non-compliant nomination of an independent candidate;
- to provide for the inspection of copies of lists of independent candidates and accompanying documents;
- to provide for objections to independent candidates;
- to provide for the inclusion of a list of independent candidates entitled to contest elections;
- to provide that independent candidates are bound by the Electoral Code of Conduct;
- to provide for the return of a deposit to independent candidates in certain circumstances;
- to amend Schedule 1; to substitute Schedule 1A; and
- to provide for matters connected therewith.
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