Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula says Parliament is gunning for November to finalise the Electoral Laws Amendment Bill that will allow independent candidates to stand for elections in Parliament and provincial legislatures.
Mapisa-Nqakula said there was no way the delay in finalising the law would threaten the elections in 2024.
She said everything was done to ensure that, by November, they have completed the process and President Cyril Ramaphosa signs the bill into law.
Parliament’s legal adviser advocate Mongana Tau said the portfolio committee on home affairs was also planning to meet during the recess period to finalise the bill.
Another legal adviser to Parliament, advocate Charmaine van der Merwe, told the programming committee on Thursday they were waiting for the Constitutional Court to give them the date for the hearing or the court will consider submissions and give its decision.
She said the New Nation Movement filed its papers on May 23, objecting to the request by Parliament to extend the deadline to finalise the bill from June to the end of the year.
Parliament had, in line with the 2020 Constitutional Court decision, been given until June 10 to finalise the bill.
But Van der Merwe said the Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, and the IEC have also filed applications supporting the extension application by parliament.
But the IEC supports the bill if it remains in its current format, she said.
She added that the bone of contention was the issue of constituencies, as the IEC would need more time to prepare for the elections. But the bill does not provide for that, and the IEC supports the application.
Mapisa-Nqakula said there was no way the process was threatening the elections in 2024.
All they wanted from the Constitutional Court was another six months to conclude everything.
She said it was unfortunate an impression had been created that the delay in finalising the bill threatened the elections.
“An impression is created that the fact that we are not ready with this bill is threatening the national elections in 2024. I don’t see in what way it is threatening the elections. According to the reports I have received from the legal team, I know that we are gunning for November 6 to finalise this whole thing. Therefore, if we finish and the President signs, we will not have a problem if we are able to do it within the next six months. All we have requested is that the Constitutional Court should give us an extension of six months because we believe that by that time, the entire process shall have been completed, and every step shall have been taken to make sure that the Bill is assented to by the president,” said Mapisa-Nqakula.