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We won’t see any reform with proposed amendments to electoral bill says, legal expert

Sep 22, 2022

2 min read

There are calls for amendments to the bill that saw South Africa’s national elections based on the closed party-list proportional representation system since the first elections in 1994.

Radio Islam International spoke with the legal counsellor at the Helen Suzman

Foundation, Anton van Dalsen believes that we will not see any reform with the proposed amendments to the Electoral Bill.

In 2020 the constitutional court delivered a judgement that the electoral system needs to be amended to make a provision for an independent candidate.

Dalsen said Parliament has been busy with that since 2022, and it looks like the final product will be in line with the existing proportional representative system.

This is after the Minister of Home Affairs asked the appointed independent ministerial advisory council to advise him on what needs to be done following a constitutional court judgement.

Indeed, the majority of the ministerial council said it is far better to have a combined system, in other words, two votes per voter.

“The first vote goes to whomever you want in your constituency and preference on a local

basis of which it is a way to go and is more sensible to deal with an independent candidate on a constituency, and the second vote goes to whomever you want to see in Parliament is also there to ensure that there is proportional representation,” explains Dalsan.

However, the Department of Home Affairs and the minister disagreed with the first vote but are pushing through for the option of keeping the Proportional Representative System.

“So, in other words, an independent candidate would be elected on a proportional

basis in a province, which to my thinking, makes no sense, but that is the way the Department of home affairs is heading,” he said.

According to Dalsen, the constitution opened the door for independents to stand but was dependent on the parliament majority and, in this case, the ANC is the majority.

He said the constitutional court is very wary not to intrude on political matters. In this case, it said the provision must be made for independence but how the provision is made is over to Parliament.

According to him, the constitutional court has given Parliament a six months extension to amend the electoral bill.

[LISTEN] to the podcast here

By Nokwanda Dlangamandla


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