ATC130730: Report of the Select Committee on Trade and International Relations on the Tourism Bill [B 44B – 2012] (National Assembly – sec 76), dated 24 July 2013:
Report of the
Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs on the Electoral Amendment Bill [PMB 2 -
2013], dated 30 July 2013
Home Affairs (the Committee), having
Electoral Amendment Bill
[PMB 2 - 2013] (National Assembly section 75), referred to it and classified
by the Joint Tagging Mechanism (JTM) as a section 75 Bill, reports as follows:
The Electoral Amendment Bill [PMB 2 - 2013],
a private members bill, was tabled and referred to the Committee on 27 March
2013. The Committee met with the sponsor of the Bill, Mr James Selfe, MP, on 19
June 2013, in order to receive a briefing on the Bill.
The Bill seeks to amend the Electoral Act,
1998 (Act 73 of 1998), so as to amend the manner in which voters who are absent
from their voting districts can vote; to provide for the institution of
constituencies for the National Assembly; to provide for the demarcation of such
constituencies; to provide for the method of election of members of the
National Assembly from such constituencies, and to provide for matters
the briefing, Mr. Selfe indicated that it was envisioned that the proposed
amendments relating to a mixed constituency and proportional representation
electoral system would only be implemented in time for the 2019 elections.
Committee deliberated on the Bill on 23 and 24 July 2013. The Committee adopted
a motion that the legislation is not desirable at the moment for the following
The proposed changes to the
electoral system to include both a constituency and proportional
representation list system might very well dilute the constitutional
principle of multi-party democracy. It does appear that these changes to
the system will be to the detriment of smaller parties and result in a two
or three party system instead of the current multi-party system. The net
result of the Bill would be an increased threshold, resulting in a system
that is less proportionate to the votes received by each party than what
is currently the case. The introduction of a constituency-based
proportional representation list system will result in a more complex
Whilst aimed at greater
is questionable to what extent a proportional
representation list at constituency level will achieve this
The voter will still vote for a
party, not a candidate. Each party will have a list of more than one
candidate and this may confuse voters as far as who they are voting for.
On his own admission, the member who sponsored the Bill, Mr Selfe,
indicated the acceptance of the Bill would amount to trade-offs, such as
greater accountability on the one hand as opposed to smaller parties being
negatively affected. The member admitted that there would be gains as well
As far as the part of the Bill
dealing with absent and special voters is concerned, the Committee is of
the following opinion:
Electoral Amendment Bill [B22-2013], 2013, has been submitted to the Speaker by
the Minister of Home Affairs in terms of Joint Rule 159.
has been properly researched by the Electoral Commission and deals with similar
matters to those in this part of the private members bill. The Committee will
therefore prefer to deal with these matters when it deals with the Electoral
Amendment Bill [B22-2013]. It is hereby suggested that Mr
proposal could be dealt with at that time.
the fact that the implementation of the proposed private members bill is
unlikely to occur in time for the
elections in 2014, the Committee is of the opinion that this is probably not
the time for legislation of this nature to be passed.
the balance therefore, the Committee believes that the Bill is not desirable at
Committee thanks Mr Selfe for sponsoring this Bill and in so doing giving the
Committee the opportunity to engage in a continuous debate on the most
appropriate electoral system for our country. This is certainly a matter that
will receive ongoing attention of both the Committee and the Electoral Commission.
to be considered.
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