Local Government: Municipal Electoral Amendment Bills [B22B-2015]: adoption

Home Affairs

29 October 2015
Chairperson: Mr B Mashile (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee met with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to consider the Local Government: Municipal Electoral Amendment Bill [B22-2015].

The Committee agreed with all the proposed changes, and adopted the Bill.

Meeting report

The Chairperson welcomed all Members and the delegation from the Independent Electoral Commission. He noted that there were two items on the agenda. Most of the work they needed to do on the Electoral Amendment Bill had been done on Tuesday. They were just waiting for that document to be cleaned and make sure it covered what they wanted to do so that when they accepted it, they knew what they were accepting. They now had two copies of clean documents. The first was the Amendment Bill [B22A-2015], which dealt with proposed amendments, while the second was the Amendment Bill [B22B-2015] for legislation, and this was the version they would try to reach agreement on.

The Chairperson said the IEC had been asked to indicate to the Committee the manner in which they would try to administer control over the number of ballot papers they could issue at a voting station. They had produced some documents which had been e-mailed to Members, and he hoped they were in order. All that he requested now was ownership of the document.

Amendment Bill [B22A-2015]

The Chairperson said that under Clause 2, the two provisions had been swapped.

The Committee agreed.

On Clause 3, the provisions on (a) and (b) had been swapped.

The Committee agreed.

The Chairperson said that it should be remembered that on Tuesday, the Chairperson of the IEC had been talking to (a) and (b) in terms of “and/or”, but the legal advisers had said that they could not have “and/or” because these words had a different construction and meaning. Therefore, one should use either one or the other, but they could not be used together. There had been this unintended interpretation of “and/or” legally, which had not been the actual intention of the IEC, because political parties had to submit their documents by hand or electronically.

The Chairperson said that the last amendment was on page 3, where they wanted to capture that it should not apply only when a voter had marked accidentally, but should also cover when the voter changed, so that the voter would be able to vote. Under (b), at the bottom, there was a provision to empower the Commission to prescribe and promulgate a regulation to manage these problems, although they already knew what the constitution was saying in terms of the IEC document, that they would like to provide three opportunities for the voter to make a mark.

The Chairperson asked Members for clarity-seeking questions regarding the changes that had been effected. And in the absence of questions from Members, he asked the IEC whether there were any comments from their side – they had seen the version as they had completed it.

Mr Glen Mashinini (Chairperson, IEC) said that they had a copy and had been involved in the development process and therefore were happy with the changes.

Local Government: Municipal Electoral Amendment Bill [B22B-2015]

The Chairperson said that they should go through the B version of the Bill.

On the front page was written:

Local Government: Municipal Electoral Amendment Bill [B22B-2015] as amended by the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, National Assembly.

The Committee was happy with the front page of the Bill.

The Chairperson said that on page 1, the intention of the Bill was stated which read as follows:

To amend the Local Government: Municipal Electoral Act, 2000, so as to define an expression and to amend a definition; to amend provisions relating to the nomination of candidates; to provide for the electronic submission of candidate nomination documents; to provide for different modalities for payments of electoral deposits; to provide for the notification of interested parties where a candidate has been nominated by more than one person; to clarify the circumstances in which new ballot papers may be issued to voters; and to clarify the provisions relating to the determination and declaration of the results of by-elections; and to provide for matters connected therewith.

Section 1 of the Local Government: Municipal Electoral Act, 2000 (Act No. 27 of 2000) (hereinafter referred to as the principal Act), is hereby amended, (a) by the insertion after the definition of ‘‘assignment’’ of the following definition: ‘‘ ‘authorized representative’, in relation to a party, means a natural person duly authorized by the party in accordance with its constitution to act on the party’s behalf for purposes of submitting a party list or nominating a ward candidate’’; and (b) by the substitution for the definition of ‘‘identity document’’ of the following definition: ‘‘‘identity document’ means an identity card issued in terms of the Identification Act, 1997 (Act No. 68 of 1997), and, subject to section 25 of that Act, includes the green, bar-coded identity document contemplated in that section’’.

Mr M Hoosen (DA) agreed with section 1.

Ms Mnisi (ANC) seconded.

The Committee agreed, and moved on to Section 14:

Section 14 of the principal Act is hereby amended -- (a) by the substitution in subsection (1) for the words preceding paragraph (a) of the following words: ‘‘A party may contest an election in terms of section 13(1)(a) or (c) only if the party by not later than a date stated in the timetable for the election has submitted to the Commission ’’; by the deletion in subsection (1)(a) of subparagraph (i); by the substitution in subsection (1) for paragraph (b) of the following paragraph: “(b) a deposit equal to a prescribed amount, if any, payable in the prescribed manner and form.’’; (a) by the insertion after subsection (1) of the following subsection: “(1A) A party must submit the documents referred to in subsection (1) -- electronically to the chief electoral officer in the prescribed manner; or by hand to the office of the Commission’s local representative.’’; by the substitution in subsection (4) for paragraph (b) of the following paragraph: ‘‘(b) allow the party to submit the outstanding documents as provided for in subsection (1A) by no later than the date and time stated in the election timetable.’’; and by the insertion after subsection (4) of the following subsection: ‘‘(4A) If a candidate appears on more than one party list for an election the chief electoral officer must, in writing, notify the candidate and all the parties on whose party lists such a candidate appears by no later than the relevant date and time stated in the election timetable; and each of the parties to whom notice has been given in terms of section 35 paragraph (a) may, by no later than the relevant date and time stated in the election timetable, substitute such a candidate and re-order the names on its party list as a result of that substitution.

Ms S Nkomo (IFP) agreed.

Ms D Raphuti (ANC) seconded.

The Committee agreed with section 14.

The Committee agreed with all the proposed changes.

The Chairperson said there was a short title which read:

This Act is called the Local Government Municipal Electoral Amendment Bill [B22B-2015], and it comes into operation on a date determined by the President’s proclamation to the Government Gazette.

The Committee was happy with the title.

Dr P Mulder (FF+) complained about the issue of political campaigning on election days, which was a great concern in terms of the election results.

The Committee agreed with Dr Mulder and decided that they should have a special meeting to discuss this issue, because it affected all political parties.

Dr Mulder moved the adoption of the Bill.

Ms Raphuti seconded the motion.

The Committee adopted the Bill.

Committee Report on the Bill

The Chairperson read the report:

Ms Raphuti moved the adoption of the report.

Mr D Gumede (ANC) seconded.

The report was adopted.

Mr Mashinini thanked the Committee for the cordial manner it had received the Commission and for ensuring they expedited the amendment.

The Chairperson thanked the IEC delegation for the inputs they had made to assist the Committee.

Discussion on the interpretation of a provision in the Immigration Act was postponed for the next meeting due to some regulations that needed to be explained and clarified by legal experts.

The meeting was adjourned.



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