President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

Cape Town - The signing into law of the Electoral Laws Amendment Bill by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday will clamp down on poor behaviour by parties in the polls in May.

However, Ramaphosa has not yet announced the date for the elections. The Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) said the date would be announced this month.

The bill will, among other things, prevent the use of public funds in parties’ campaigns.

The ANC has been on the receiving end of criticism in Parliament by opposition parties that it is using state resources and funds to campaign.

The bill also seeks to prevent any challenge to the elections results based on the absence of addresses in the voters roll.

The IEC announced last week that 700000 people had been added to the voters roll. This had pushed the number of registered voters to 26.7million. However, the IEC said there were many young people who were not registered.

The commission has sought an extension to verify more addresses in the voters roll.

A few weeks ago, Ramaphosa signed into law another important piece of legislation, the Political Party Funding Bill, which will come into effect in April. This bill seeks to limit party funding and forces parties to disclose their funders.

During the municipal election campaign in 2016, an ANC national executive committee member said the ruling party had spent R1billion on the elections. This was denied by the party at the time.

Other parties have claimed that they spent a few million rand on their campaigns.

Civil society organisations have for years been campaigning for parties to open their books. Some went to the High Court and Constitutional Court over the matter.

The Political Party Funding Bill will start operating when the parties kick off their election drives.

The Electoral Laws Bill has been lauded by opposition parties as an important bill to prevent the abuse of state resources by the ruling party.

Political Bureau