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Electoral Amendment Bill in the Pipeline

January 10, 2022

Department of Home Affairs

A Draft Electoral Amendment Bill is heading for parliament.

The home affairs department published the draft bill’s explanatory summary in Government Gazette 45716.

According to the explanatory summary, the aim of the proposed legislation is to give effect to the Constitutional Court decision in New Nation Movement NPC & others v President of the Republic of South Africa & others [2020] ZACC 11.

The decision declared the Electoral Act of 1998 unconstitutional to the extent that it “requires that adult citizens may only be elected to the National Assembly and Provincial Legislatures only through their membership of political parties”.

The draft bill aims to:

• make provision for the election of independent candidates to the National Assembly and provincial legislatures; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

The department plans to table the draft bill in parliament.

Meanwhile, in Gazette 45727, the department announced the extension of Zimbabwean exemptions granted to Zimbabwean nationals for 12 months until 31 December 2022 in order to allow the holders to apply for other visas.

The notice points out that holders of the exemption permits cannot be arrested, detained, or deported during the 12-month grace period.

Holders will also be allowed to enter or depart South Africa during the grace period.

In November 2021, cabinet decided to no longer issue extensions to the Zimbabwean special dispensations but agreed on a 12 month grace period to kick in at the expiry of the current exemption permit on 31 December 2021.