Matter will go to court says Louis as Electoral Amendment Bill deadline passes

Dr Michael Louis

At midnight last night a twice-extended Constitutional Court deadline passed for President Cyril Ramaphosa to sign the Electoral Amendment Bill into law or refer it back to Parliament.

In an interview this morning Dr Michael Louis chairperson of the Independent Candidates Association (ICA) which has petitioned Ramaphosa not to sign the bill it regards as flawed and unconstitutional said: “We’ve confirmed this morning that the president’s office hasn’t confirmed that he signed.”

He said, however, that whatever option the president decides on, the ICA will go to the Constitutional Court — to challenge the bill if he endorses it or to seek a declaratory order on how the 2024 national elections should be run if he refers it to Parliament.

In June 2020 the Constitutional Court declared the Electoral Act unconstitutional as it only allows adult citizens to become Members of the National Assembly or the Provincial Legislatures through political party membership. Parliament was ordered to amend the bill to allow independent candidates to contest national and provincial elections. Last night’s midnight deadline

Last Thursday Parliament passed the bill which ICA regards as biased against independents. In a letter to Ramaphosa, ICA said: ”If the President decides to sign the bill into law, we will have no alternative but to challenge this bill via an urgent application to the Constitutional Court which due to restrictive timelines could directly affect the 2024 elections. 

“The President faces a crisis. Normally a bill takes three to six months to consider. For this, the most important bill since the dawn of democracy, he has just three days. It is trite to observe that an electoral system is a fundamental pillar of a stable and successful democracy. We therefore urge the President to exercise due care in applying his mind to the constitutional validity of the bill and to send it back to Parliament to raise his concerns.”

Asked how next year’s elections would be affected if the bill is referred back to Parliament, given that time is running out for the IEC to prepare for the elections, he said it would not affect the elections at all as they would ask the Constitutional Court to write in a declaratory order on how the elections should be run as Parliament had failed to fulfil their role.

He also expressed concern about comments by Terry Tselane executive chairperson of the Institute of Election Management Services in Africa, during a recent interview with SABC. Tselane said in the intervi that Ramaphosa should sign off the bill because of time constraints faced by the IEC in preparing for next year’s elections.

“In my opinion, it is better to have a bad legislation than not to have a legislation at all,” Tselane said.

Louis said if elections go ahead with an unconstitutional Electoral Act it will open the door for people who are unhappy with the result to challenge its constitutionality and have the elections declared null and void.

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.

One Comment

  1. Thank you Michael.