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Electoral Commission Amendment Bill in the Pipeline

June 24, 2021


A private member’s bill designed to extend the application of the Electoral Commission Act to include a mechanism for a provincial premier to call a referendum is in the pipeline.

Parliament published the Draft Electoral Commission Amendment Bill’s explanatory summary in Government Gazette 44741.

The draft bill was drawn up by Natasha Mazzone, a Democratic Alliance member of parliament.

According to the explanatory summary, the Electoral Commission Act of 1996 and the Referendums Act of 1983 provide for the holding of referendums in order to ascertain the views of voters.

However, both acts only provide for the president to call for a national referendum.

Currently, premiers are unable to call for a referendum in a province.

The draft bill also aims to repeal the Referendums Act of 1983 as the two acts cover the same ground except that the 1996 act provides for a permanent support structure in respect of referendums.

Comment on the proposed content of the draft bill is invited within 30 days of the date of publication.