Pressure mounting on Cyril Ramaphosa over controversial Electoral Amendment Bill

Former president Thabo Mbeki (PHOTO: eNCA)

Pressure is mounting on President Cyril Ramaphosa over the controversial Electoral Amendment Bill and it will be impossible for him to sign it into law in the limited time available to him, said Dr Mike Louis chairperson of the Independent Candidate Association South Africa.

He told Gateway News that “we will mobilise civil society to send the bill back to Parliament to make it constitutional and an electoral system that everybody wants”.

Last Thursday the National Assembly passed the bill after a debate in which ANC and EFF MPs dismissed with contempt a bid by an alliance of civil society organisations to persuade parliamentarians to reject the bill which they say is unconstitutional and undemocratic.

Since then there has been a mounting groundswell of opposition to the bill with even two former presidents — Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe — agreeing with the the civil society view that the draft legislation puts party interests ahead of democracy. And yesterday the influential 70s group of veteran anti-apartheid activists called for the matter to be decided in a public referendum.

- Advertisement -

In a statement released last Friday, Mkangeli Matomela national convenor of the Citizens Parliament of the New Nation Movement said they will approach the Constitutional Court to declare the unconstitutional clauses of the Electoral Amendment Bill invalid or allow reading in of clauses consistent with the Constitution.

In the historic New Nation Movement ruling in June 2020 the Constitutional Court ordered Parliament to amend the Electoral Act within 24 months to allow independent candidates to contest elections. The deadline expired in June this year and was extended to December 10.

Louis urged citizens to exercise their right to send comments on the bill to Parliament by no later than November 9, the cut-off time before it is considered by the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). Comments should be emailed to

- Advertisement -

He said the New Nation Movement and the alliance of civil society groups are working together to oppose the flawed bill and to secure an electoral system that returns power to the people by making MPs accountable to voters and not to political parties.

He said they cannot take the bill to Constitutional Court until the president passes it into law. However, he expects that by the time the NCOP refers the bill to Ramaphosa for signing he will have less that a week to decide on it before the December 10 deadline. He said it is likely the NCOP will only make minor amendments, which means the bill will still not pass constitutional muster. And it is unlikely that Ramaphosa will have time to do get legal opinions and apply his mind to it. Nor is he likely to want to pass such a controversial bill just days before the ANC national conference where he faces leadership challenges.

Louis said he expects the president will have to ask the Constitutional Court for another extension to give Parliament an opportunity to make changes to the Bill. With 2014 elections looming there will be pressure on Parliament to deal with the clauses in the bill which prejudice independent candidates.

“We must trust that God is going to create a way that power will get back to civil society and that we will have an electoral system that will put godly leaders into office,” he said.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Please help us to keep on publishing news that brings Hope in Jesus:

>> Donate  >> Become a Super Subscriber

Click to join movement


You are welcome to engage with our articles by making comments [in the Comments area below] that add value to a topic or to engage in thoughtful, constructive discussion with fellow readers. Comments that contain vulgar language will be removed. Hostile, demeaning, disrespectful, propagandistic and off-topic comments may also be moved. This is a Christian website and if you wish to vent against Christian beliefs you have probably come to the wrong place and your comments may be removed. Ongoing debates and repetitiveness will not be tolerated. You will also disqualify yourself from commenting if you engage in trolling.

Comments are closed.