Electoral Bill: voting

Home Affairs

25 August 1998
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Meeting report

HOME AFFAIRS PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
26 August 1998
ELECTORAL BILL: VOTING

SUMMARY
The Director-General of Home Affairs, Mr A Makoena, assured the committee that the department had the capacity to deliver the bar-coded identity documents.
To ensure this he suggested that only voting itself require identification via a bar-coded ID and not voter registration. The period between the cut-off date for voter registration and election day would be used to process and dispatch these IDs.

In line with this suggestion, an amendment to Clause 1 was proposed and this was passed. The Committee voted on the entire Bill which was passed with the Democratic Party objecting.

DETAILED MINUTES
Mr Lockey, the Chairperson, explained that because of a lengthy Cabinet meeting, the Minister was unable to attend the meeting and that the Director General would address the committee’s concerns. Certain members were unhappy that departmental officials had been sent to the Portfolio Committee rather than the Minister himself.

The Director-General of Home Affairs, Mr A Makoena, said that his department disagreed with the HSRC report that there were 2.2 million citizens without any identity documents. They believed that it was a flawed and distorted survey. They agreed that there were 2.3 million identity documents issued without a barcode that would need to be replaced. Presently they do not have a backlog as not enough people are coming forward to apply for IDs. They currently have the capacity to issue 18 000 IDs per day and this can be pushed up to 25 000. He appealed to the media and to parliamentary representatives to assist in communicating to the public that they need a barcode ID in order to vote.

However, Mr Makoena said that instead of arguing about unsubstantiated figures, the Department’s proposal to accommodate people who do not have bar-coded IDs was the following:
South Africans will be allowed to register without a bar-coded ID but at the same time they will have to apply for a bar-coded ID and they will be issued on the spot with a temporary ID.

However they will not be allowed to vote without a bar-coded ID. The only temporary IDs that will be accepted on voting day will be ones issued to citizens who have lost their bar-coded ID. [Note: the appearance of the two types of temporary IDs will most probably be different].

At the same time the Department undertakes to ensure that all such applications for bar-coded IDs will be processed and dispatched in the period between the registration cut-off date and election day. As they will then know the exact number that need to be processed before election day, the workload will be easy to quantify and the assignment of resources easy to assess.

An amendment to Clause 1 was then circulated and the meeting broke for a few minutes for caucusing. Mr Tredoux of the IEC explained the amendment. The committee voted on the clause and then on the entire Electoral Bill. Both were passed with only the Democratic Party objecting.

The Bill will be debated in the National Assembly on Monday 31 October 1998.

AMENDMENT TO THE ELECTORAL BILL [B69-98]
CLAUSE 1
1. On page 10, from line 44 to omit the definition of "identity document" and to substitute:
"identity document means-
(a) for the purposes of registration as a voter, an identity document issued in terms of the Identification Act, 1986 (Act No 72 of 1986) or a temporary identity certificate issued in terms of the Identification Act, 1997 (Act No 68 of 1997) that bears an identity number allocated from the population register.

(b) for the purpose of voting, an identity document issued in terms of the Identification Act, 1986 (Act No 72 of 1986) or a temporary identity certificate issued in terms of the Identification Act, 1997 (Act No 68 of 1997), in respect of a person who was previously issued with such an identity document.

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