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Electoral Laws Amendment Act in Effect

August 31, 2021

Electoral Commission

The Electoral Laws Amendment Act came into effect on 27 August 2021.

The Electoral Commission published the proclamation in Government Gazette 45060.

President Ramaphosa assented to the act in June 2021.

Parliament passed the Electoral Laws Amendment Bill and sent it for assent in March 2021.

The bill was tabled in parliament in September 2020.

Cabinet approved the bill at the end of August 2020 for tabling in parliament.

The bill sought to amend three pieces of legislation, namely, the Electoral Commission Act of 1996; Electoral Act of 1998 and Local Government Municipal Electoral Act of 2000.

According to the cabinet statement, the proposed changes will “enhance the existing legislative mechanism. The amendments will, amongst others, introduce innovations in electoral practices in keeping with best practices to improve the Independent Electoral Commission’s efficiency in managing elections”.

The national assembly passed the bill and sent it to the national council of provinces for concurrence in December 2020.

During deliberations, the portfolio committee on home affairs rejected clause 14 that would have empowered the Commission to prescribe a different voting method.

The select committee on security and justice proposed a new subsection (2) for Section 16 of the Electoral Act focused on the provision of information regarding the voters’ roll by the Chief Electoral Officer.

Amendments were also proposed to Section 47 of the Local Government: Municipal Electoral Act on the prescribing of different voting procedures for voters on the voters’ roll without addresses.

The portfolio committee on home affairs adopted the proposed amendments.

The Electoral Laws Amendment Act aims to amend the —

• Electoral Commission Act, 1996, so as to insert certain definitions; to streamline the provisions for the registration of political parties; to provide for the registration of parties in respect of particular provinces, district and metropolitan municipalities and to repeal provisions relating to registration of parties in respect of particular local municipalities; to repeal obsolete provisions;
• Electoral Act, 1998, so as to insert certain definitions; to delete the provisions regarding public access to the voters’ roll; to update references to repealed legislation; to amend provisions allowing voters to vote in a voting district where they are not registered; to amend provisions relating to the submission of lists of candidates; to amend provisions relating to special votes in elections for the National Assembly; to amend provisions relating to the procedure concerning provisional results and voting materials; to provide for the limited applicability of the Code; to amend Schedule 3; and
• Local Government: Municipal Electoral Act, 2000, so as to insert and delete certain definitions; to amend the requirements for parties contesting elections by way of party lists and for a ward candidate to contest elections; to authorise the Commission to prescribe a different voting procedure for those voters whose names appear on the voters’ roll, without addresses; to amend provisions relating to the effect of certain irregularities, and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

Amended Regulations were also published including amendments to the Municipal Electoral Regulations of 2000; Regulations for the Registration of Political Parties of 2004 and Voter Registration Regulations of 1998.