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Parliament racing against time to finalise electoral law

Parliament has been given until June 10 to make provision for independent candidates to stand in elections to become MPs or MPLs. File picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Parliament has been given until June 10 to make provision for independent candidates to stand in elections to become MPs or MPLs. File picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 5, 2022

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Cape Town - Parliament is racing against time to finalise the Electoral Act to allow independent candidates to stand as MPs and MPLs.

This is despite filing papers in the Constitutional Court asking for an extension as this was a Bill that required extensive consultation with a number of role-players.

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Members of the programming committee were told on Thursday that Parliament is waiting for a date from the Constitutional Court to hear the application for an extension.

This is ahead of the deadline that was set by the Constitutional Court in 2020 for parliament to finalise amending the Bill by June 10 this year.

Legal adviser to Parliament, advocate Charmaine van der Merwe said they have filed the papers.

But it was not guaranteed that the extension would be granted by the court.

It was in this respect that there needed to be some work to conclude the bill.

Asked by MPs what would be the implications of the bill if the Constitutional Court did not grant the extension, Van der Merwe said this could have implications on the next elections in 2024.

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“In respect of the implications in this instance, simply what will happen is that by the time we have our next election there must be a provision for independent candidates. If the court does not grant the extension, all we can do is to simply proceed with the bill as soon as possible,” said Van der Merwe.

“In this instance there is an order to do at a certain time. If we don’t do it by the time we have the next elections it will have to be in place or our elections will not be constitutional,” she said.

She added that it would be better to get an extension.

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