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Deputy Speaker Tsenoli calls for Plan B on electoral laws

A woman casts her vote at the IEC voting centre at the Nirvana Primary School in Lenasia. Picture: Chris Collingridge

A woman casts her vote at the IEC voting centre at the Nirvana Primary School in Lenasia. Picture: Chris Collingridge

Published Feb 17, 2022

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Cape Town - Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli has urged MPs to consider a second option if the Constitutional Court rejects an application by the national legislature to extend the deadline to finalise the Electoral Act.

The Constitutional Court had given Parliament until June 10 this year to amend the electoral laws to allow for independent candidates to stand for elections in the National Assembly and provincial legislatures.

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This would allow them to become MPs and MPLs once elected in the national polls.

The New Nation Movement had taken the government to court in 2020 when it won the case.

The Constitutional Court gave Parliament until June this year to finalise amendments to the law allowing independent candidates to stand as MPs and MPLs.

But the portfolio committee on home affairs said this week it would seek an extension from the Constitutional Court as it cannot meet the deadline of June.

One of the reasons was that it has to conduct extensive public hearings in line with the Constitution.

But Tsenoli warned that the home affairs committee should have a Plan B in case the court rejects its application to extend the deadline beyond June.

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“The request of the committee dealing with the Electoral Bill may have to prepare Plan B in case our request is rejected. We mustn’t assume that because we are persuaded by the argument that this is complex that necessarily the court might find the same reasoning.

“We must prepare in the event that they say no because ultimately 2024 seems to be the target for implementation of this law. If that is the case, its extension is likely to create complications for even the IEC, which said in the recent outcome of the elections that never should they be forced to conduct an election in 42 days.

“Because of these potential potholes along the route we must organise a Plan B, request the committee to think about and work through a Plan B,” said Tsenoli.

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Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said parties should consider the issue raised by Tsenoli.

She said they should look at the second option to deal with the possibility of the rejection of the application for an extension in the Constitutional Court.

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