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Electoral Laws Amendment Bill Heading for Parliament

September 9, 2020

Department of Home Affairs

The Draft Electoral Laws Amendment Bill is heading for parliament.

The home affairs department published the draft bill’s explanatory summary in Government Gazette 43697.

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

The draft bill aims 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 explanatory summary indicates that the draft bill aims to amend the three acts and to align the relevant provisions of the legislation relating to municipal elections so as to:

• Include the definitions of the local municipality, district municipality and metropolitan municipality in order to have a corresponding meaning assigned to it in terms of the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act, 1998 (Act No.117 of 1998);
• Discontinue with the requirement to submit paper documents by political parties in order to facilitate seamless and electronic submission of documents relating to candidates;
• Allow the Electoral Commission to prescribe a method of voting other than the current paper ballot method such as electronic voting;
• Allow a different voting procedure for voters whose names appear on the certified voters’ roll on voting day but without an address recorded on the voters’ roll;
• Regulate the application procedure for the registration of parties intending to contest municipal elections at district and metropolitan level; and
• Clarify the dates that the Electoral Code of Conduct is operative and binding on contestants in municipal elections.

The draft bill will be tabled in parliament soon.