Motsoaledi adamant that bills will be introduced within deadline

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: Jacques Naude/Independent Newspapers

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: Jacques Naude/Independent Newspapers

Published Nov 28, 2023


Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi is adamant that his department will be able to introduce two bills that have specific deadlines before the elections and the end of term of the sixth parliament.

This comes after his department failed to meet the deadline set by Parliament to submit priority bills for processing in September.

The department has yet to table the Electoral Matters Amendment Bill, which should contain consequential amendments following the enactment of the Electoral Amendment Bill, which provides for independent candidates to stand for elections in Parliament and provincial legislatures.

It still has to submit another bill to fix the Marriage Act after the Constitutional Court confirmed in June 2022 a Supreme Court of Appeal ruling that recognised Muslim marriages and declared certain sections of the Marriages Act and Divorce Act unconstitutional.

Parliament was given until June 2024 to fix the constitutional defect in the legislation and the department had undertaken to formulate the bill.

With time running against the department, DA MP Adrian Roos wrote to Motsoaledi enquiring whether he had found that the date of the 2024 national and provincial elections would be able to be proclaimed before the Electoral Matters Amendment Bill was signed into law and promulgated.

In his response, Motsoaledi said the bill would be submitted to the Cabinet to enable it to be introduced in Parliament within this current financial year.

“The minister, and the department, is working tirelessly to introduce the bill timeously into Parliament, and allow for Parliament to process the Bill accordingly,” he said.

Last month, the department indicated to the portfolio committee that it expected the Cabinet’s approval this month.

Roos also asked Motsoaledi if his department intended to approach the Constitutional Court to request an extension of the deadline in order to fix the constitutional defects in the Marriage Act.

Motsoaledi said: “The department is of the view that the draft Marriage Bill will be introduced into Parliament timeously to allow Parliament to finalise the bill accordingly.”

He also said the department was currently in the process of developing the draft Marriage Bill, which was published for public comments in July 2023.

He said the department had proceeded to revise the draft bill to incorporate the written submissions received after the public participation stage closed in August.

“In accordance with the department’s Annual Performance Plan, the draft Marriage Bill will be introduced into Parliament within the current financial year, ending March 2024,” Motsoaledi said.