Home PodcastAshraf Garda Electoral Amendment Bill becomes law, despite concerns

Electoral Amendment Bill becomes law, despite concerns

by Zahid Jadwat

President Cyril Ramaphosa has signed the Electoral Amendment Bill of 2022 into law. This is despite reservations from civil society regarding the fairness of the law.

Speaking in an interview on Salaamedia, Lulu White, the CEO of the Elections Consulting Agency of Africa (EMCA), said it was an “important piece of legislation” in spite of its “shortcomings”.

The new law paved the way for independent candidates to contest for seats in either Parliament or any one of the provincial legislatures of the country’s nine provinces. It was passed by lawmakers in Cape Town in February this year, while civil society organisations cited concerns over the fairness of the law.

Nevertheless, White described it as “something that we should be celebrating”.


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Concerns about quotas

“As people in the election space, we have a few issues that we’ve brought,” said White. “For example, one of the biggest ones is that in terms of the quotas of support, we do feel that that is a limitation for independent candidates.”

Independent candidates wishing to stand for election will now be required to garner a number of endorsements from registered voters before registering. This varies from province to province, but it could be as many as 8 000 as in the case of Gauteng, according to White.

“Then, you’ve got a bigger fight once you are on the ballot because you have to fight for funds [to be] able to campaign throughout the country to get the number of votes that will then get you a seat in Parliament.”


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Concerns about unfairness

The second point of contention, said Lulu, was that independent candidates were only permitted to vie for half the 400 seats in the National Assembly. This immediately puts them at a disadvantage when compared to political parties.

“That is a concern because yes, it appears to be giving fairness to the process, but at the same time it’s unequal. Unequal opportunities are being given to political parties and independent candidates,” said White.

Ashraf Garda and Lulu White further unpacked what might be done to address the concerns around the Electoral Amendment Act. Listen to the full discussion here:


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