Electoral Amendment Bill: Motion of Desirability; IEC Commissioner Recommendation; with Deputy Minister

Home Affairs

31 May 2022
Chairperson: Mr M Chabane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary


Letter to Speaker IEC

Tracking the Electoral Reform Legislation in Parliament

Awaited document: Motion of Desirability

In this virtual meeting, the Committee considered and adopted the Motion of Desirability on the Electoral Amendment Bill [B1 - 2022]. The motion – pending the inclusion of the requirement for general proportionality - was adequate to amend the Electoral Act 73 of 1998 in line with the June 2020 Constitutional Court on the New Nation Movement NPC and Others vs President of the Republic of South Africa and Others case. The report’s adoption will now enable the Committee to consider and deliberate on the Bill.

The Chairperson stated that there were inaccuracies in a recent media report, which suggested that the Committee was delaying the processing of the Electoral Amendment Bill and that the Parliamentary Communication team will address this.

Through a majority vote, the Committee recommended Mr Glen Mashinini to fill a vacancy within the Electoral Commission of South Africa, as per Section 6 of the Electoral Commission Act, 1996 (Act 51 of 1996).

The Minister was supposed to brief the Committee on a number of investigations relating to the Government Printing Works. However, due to his unavailability, this part of the meeting was rescheduled.

Meeting report

Opening Remarks
The Chairperson said the Committee would continue with the items of the previous Committee meeting.

He noted that there was a media report on the weekend that suggested that the Portfolio Committee was delaying the work of the Electoral Amendment Bill. He noted that Members had all had an opportunity to go through the media report. It needed to be clarified that the Committee was now in the process of dealing with the Amendment Bill and some of the issues raised in the media report were not issues known to the Committee. The Committee had requested an extension to the Constitutional Court to adequately deal with the matter. There was inaccuracy in the Sunday paper and the Committee was interacting with the Parliamentary Communication team to address this.

Further, he noted that it was one of the Parliamentary researcher’s last day, as part of the research team in Parliament. He thanked him for his contribution.

Apologies and Letter from the Minister
The Committee Secretary noted the apologies. The Minister had written to the Committee stating that Cabinet was on a retreat. Therefore, the Minister would be unable to present the reports on the Government Printing Works investigations but the reports were ready. The Minister had suggested that the presentations be rescheduled. The letter had been shared with all the Members.

The Chairperson asked for input from the Committee Members regarding the letter received from the Minister.

Mr A Roos (DA) stated that it was fine. He had written to the Chairperson asking that the reports be communicated to Members, as the reports should have been available from March 2022. There was quite a lot of content that Members would need to go through. He accepted the apology but asked that the reports be released to Members.

Ms A Khanyile (DA) noted the apology by the Minister; she was covered otherwise by Mr Roos.

Ms L Tito (EFF) noted the apology of the Minister.

Mr K Pillay (ANC) said it must be noted that it was rare that the Minister was not present in a Portfolio Committee meeting.

Ms T Legwase (ANC) agreed with her colleagues, in accepting and noting the apology of the Minister, while awaiting the reports to be sent to Members.

Remarks by the Deputy Minister
Mr Njabulo Nzuza, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, stated that the Minister would have liked to be there to present the reports. The reports were quite detailed and dealt with sensitive issues. He and the Minister would make themselves available the following week on the date arranged. The reports were in their possession, it was simply that both the Minister and himself wanted to be there to present them, due to their sensitivity.

Consideration of the Motion of Desirability (MOD) on the Electoral Amendment Bill [B1 – 2022]
The Committee Secretary presented the Motion of Desirability on the Electoral Amendment Bill to the Committee. The MOD highlighted certain aspects of the Electoral Act, 73 of 1998 that the Committee desired to be amended.

It was proposed that certain definitions, consequential to the expansion of the Act be inserted, such as independent candidates as contesters to elections in the National Assembly and provincial legislatures. It was proposed that registered parties needed to submit a declaration confirming that all its candidates were registered to vote in the region or province where an election took place. It was put forward that the provision for the nomination of independent candidates to contest elections in the National Assembly or provincial legislatures and provide for the requirements and qualifications which must be met by persons who wish to be registered as independent candidates be included. It was proposed that it provide for the procedure to follow for a non-compliant nomination of an independent candidate.

The Chairperson stated that in the previous meeting, the Committee had agreed that it must proceed with the Electoral Amendment Bill. At the time there were no notes for consideration. This was requested. The MOD formed the notes that the Committee needed to consider and adopt. In principle, the Members had dealt with the process of consideration on whether to proceed with the Amendment Bill. He asked that the notes be considered and adopted.

Mr Pillay moved for the adoption of the MOD.

Mr Roos stated that it looked alright. He realised the Committee needed to pass the Bill but needed to put the Bill to the legislature to meet the requirements of the Constitutional Court Judgement. He noted that the requirement for general proportionality was missing. This was one of the key aspects of the judgement. The MOD could benefit from that. It needed to be added in. Once that addition was included, the Democratic Alliance (DA) would be fine with it.

Ms M Molekwa (ANC) noted the MOD.

Ms Khanyile noted the MOD and supported it. On the issue of general proportionality, she was covered by Mr Roos.

Ms Legwase stated that she noted the MOD.

The Chairperson stated that the Committee was adopting the MOD, with the issues raised.

The MOD was adopted with the proposed inclusions.

Consideration of the CVs and report from the Office of the Chief Justice to fill a vacancy of an IEC Commissioner
The Committee Secretary stated that in the last meeting, there was a nomination for one candidate and the opposition parties indicated that more time was needed to consult with their caucuses. He suggested that the opposition parties, who had since consulted their caucuses, could nominate people for the commissioner post. The African National Congress had nominated Mr Glen Mashinini. That motivation was heard in the previous meeting. The report was prepared. Once the candidate was agreed to by the Committee, that report would need to be adopted.

Mr Pillay stated that at the last meeting he had already proposed a name. He further wished to nominate Mr Glen Mashinini, based on his experience. Given that the Electoral Amendment Bill would lead to a lot of changes; it would be prudent to note the experience he brought to the IEC. All the candidates had the ability to run or lead, however one needed to have someone who had extensive experience, especially after the last elections, and the conditions that had to be faced.

Ms A Ramolobeng (ANC) supported Mr Glen Mashinini and the reasons presented by Mr Pillay.

Ms Khanyile stated that the DA rejected the nomination or Mr Glen Mashinini. The DA wanted to propose a different name. The motivation around experience was noted. The DA was of the opinion that the previous elections were held in a manner that was not satisfactory to the parties that were on the ground. Adv Geraldene Chaplog-Louw, was currently with the IEC and had experience there. She was currently holding the position of Chief Audit Executive, she had also served in various roles in the IEC, she had been with the IEC for around 15 to 20 years.

Ms Legwase reaffirmed the position of the ANC in recommending Mr Glen Mashinini.

Ms Tito stated that the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) would abstain from voting.

The Chairperson noted the names of Mr Glen Mashinini and Adv Geraldene Chaplog-Louw. He stated that the Committee would consider the name that would proceed. The Committee would vote on the matter. He noted that Ms Tito would abstain.

Vote on the Recommendation of the IEC Commissioner
The Committee Secretary stated that there were nine Members recorded as being in the meeting, eight of which were permanent Members. The Committee would need to formally vote on this.

The Chairperson asked if anyone seconded the nomination of Adv Geraldene Chaplog-Louw.

Mr Roos indicated that he seconded the nomination of Adv Geraldene Chaplog-Louw.

Adv B Bongo (ANC) stated that he supported the nomination of Mr Glen Mashinini.

Ms Molekwa agreed with the nomination of Mr Glen Mashinini.

Ms Tito stated that the EFF would abstain from voting.

The Committee Secretary stated that there were six Members in support of Mr Glen Mashinini. Ms Tito abstained. There were two votes for Adv Geraldene Chaplog-Louw.

The Chairperson stated that the report would be finalised and put forward to the National Assembly recommending Mr Glen Mashinini.

Consideration and Adoption of the Recommendation Report on filling the vacancy in the IEC
The Committee Secretary stated that a report had been drafted. All that was necessary was to indicate the name of Mr Glen Mashinini and thereafter consider and adopt the report.

Following interviews by a panel established in terms of section 6(3) of the Electoral Commission Act, 1996 (No 51 of 1996) and comprising the Chief Justice (chairperson), the Chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission, the Chairperson of the Commission for Gender Equality and public Protector, the Chief Justice submitted a list of candidates and their curriculum vitae to the National Assembly for consideration to fill a vacancy in the Electoral Commission. The matter was referred to the Committee on 14 April 2022 for consideration and report. The Committee met on 10, 20 and 31 May 2022 to consider the candidates recommended by the panel.

Mr Pillay moved for the adoption of the Report.

Ms Molekwa moved to second the adoption of the Report.

Ms Khanyile asked that the objection of the DA be noted.

Ms Tito asked that the objection of the EFF be noted.

The Report was adopted noting the objections of the DA and EFF.

Read Report:
ATC220531: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs on Filling the Vacancy in the Electoral Commission, dated 31 May 2022

Matters of the Committee
The Committee Secretary stated that the next Committee meeting was scheduled for the coming Friday.

Mr Roos wished the parliamentary researcher, who was leaving, all the best in his future endeavours.

Mr Pillay similarly wished him well and thanked him for his contributions.

Ms Molekwa wished him well.

Ms Tito wished him well on his new journey.

Ms Legwase wished him the best of luck.

Ms Khanyile similarly thanked him for his contribution to the Committee. She wished him everything of the best in his future endeavours.

Closing Remarks
The Chairperson thanked Members for their contributions. He noted there were some issues that came out of the debate held previously, that the Committee would need to take up.

The meeting was adjourned.

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