ConCourt extends deadline for Electoral Amendment Bill to February

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A voter casts her ballot at a polling station.
A voter casts her ballot at a polling station.
Luca Sola, AFP
  • Having failed on numerous occasions to meet the deadline to finalise amendments to the Electoral Act, Parliament has again been granted an extension to attend to this. 
  • The National Assembly has until 28 February to amend the Electoral Amendment Bill. 
  • In June 2020, Constitutional Court found the Electoral Act constitutionally invalid insofar that made it impossible for independent candidates to stand for political office.

The Constitutional Court has granted Parliament's request to extend the deadline further for the finalisation of the Electoral Amendment Bill.

Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo confirmed this on Monday, saying the deadline had been moved to 28 February.

The National Assembly lodged an urgent application for an extension to finalise the bill after failing to meet the 10 December extended deadline.

Parliament had twice failed to meet a court-imposed deadline of amending the Electoral Act.

In December, the apex court issued an interim order to further extend its declaration of invalidity order deadline for the act until 31 January to allow it more time to consider the request to extend the deadline to 28 February.

According to Mathapo, "on Friday, 20 January, the court agreed to further suspend its invalidity order from 10 December 2022 to 28 February 2023".

The bill seeks to make provisions for independent candidates to participate in national and provincial elections. 

READ | Electoral Amendment Bill: Parliament in urgent ConCourt bid to extend deadline

This after the Constitutional Court, in June 2020, found the Electoral Act was constitutionally invalid insofar as it makes it impossible for candidates to stand for political office without being members of political parties.

The judgment came after a successful Constitutional Court challenge by the New Nation Movement and a group of independent candidates. 

Despite the judgment, the court suspended its ruling for 24 months and gave Parliament until 10 June 2022 to rectify the constitutional defects in the act. 

Parliament has, however, failed to address the concerns raised by the apex court. 

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