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National Assembly passes Electoral Laws Amendment Bill, Adjustments Appropriation Bill and Special Appropriations Bill

28 November 2018

The National Assembly (NA) passed the Electoral Laws Amendment Bill, the Adjustments Appropriation Bill and the Special Appropriations Bill at its plenary sitting today.

Electoral Laws Amendment Bill

The Electoral Laws Amendment Bill stems from the Constitutional Court's decision in the Kham and Others vs Electoral Commission and Another (CCT64/15) case where the applicants in the matter challenged the validity of the 2013 Tlokwe by-elections. The contest centred on the fact that the segment of the voters' roll the applicants had received from the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), did not reflect any voter's addresses. The Court set aside the by-elections and ordered that fresh by-elections be held in terms of Section 25 of the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act and Municipal Structures Act. The Court declared that when registering a voter to vote in a particular voting district, the IEC is obliged to obtain sufficient particulars of the voter's addresses, to enable the IEC to ensure, that the voter is at the time of registration ordinarily resident in that voting district. It declared that in all future municipal elections or by-elections, the IEC is obliged in terms of Section 16(3) of the Electoral Act, to provide all candidates in municipal elections on the date on which they are certified, a copy of the segment of the national voter's roll to be used in that ward including the addresses of all voters, where these addresses are available.

The Electoral Laws Amendment Bill therefore seeks to comply with the Constitutional Court's obligations in maintaining a voters' roll that is accurate, up-to-date and inclusive of as many eligible voters as possible. The Bill revises existing provisions relating to voter registration, voter's roll, voting districts and voting procedures. It repeals the requirement that the identity document of a voter must be stamped as proof of voting and provides for a different voting procedure for voters without addresses on the voter's roll. It also provides for, among other, the prohibition of the use of public finances to fund party political campaigns and aligns the provision regarding the circumstances in which new ballot papers may be issued to voters within the provisions of the Municipal Electoral Act.This Bill also seeks to protect the integrity of the IEC by prohibiting the use of the name, acronym, logo, designs and electoral material used or owned by the IEC. It empowers the IEC to use available data for the compilation a national common voters roll; and lastly, provides clarity that the cut-off date for the registration of voters for an upcoming election, must be the date of proclamation of an election date. These amendments to the electoral laws are crucial in order to maintain the credibility of our electoral system and safe guarding of our democratic processes. The Bill will be sent to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) for concurrence.

Adjustments Appropriation Bill

The Adjustments Appropriation Bill provides for increases or decreases to allocations set out in the main 2018 Appropriation Act, including shifts in the anticipated economic classification of public spending. It essentially sets adjustments to allocations. Furthermore, the Adjusted Estimates of National Expenditure explains national changes in detail, together with midyear performance and expenditure information. The Adjustments Appropriation Bill, also referred to as the Adjusted Budget, follows the tabling of the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) by the Minister of Finance on 24 October 2018 outlining the budget priorities of government for the medium term estimates. Section 12 (15) of the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act, No. 9 of 2009 (Money Bills Act) provides that in the event of a revised fiscal framework, an Adjustments Appropriation Bill must be referred to the Committee on Appropriations in the National Assembly only after the Division of Revenue Amendment Bill has been passed by Parliament. Accordingly, the Division of Revenue Bill was passed by the National Assembly on 13 November 2018. By passing the Adjustments Appropriations Bill, the National Assembly has ensured that the adjusted budget is passed in time for government to be able to fund all reprioritised areas of service delivery in the interest of our people.

Special Appropriation Bill

The Bill provides for the appropriation of an additional amount of R5 billion for the requirements of the Department of Public Enterprises to settle the debt obligations of the South African Airways (SAA) SOC Limited; and to provide for matters connected therewith.
The NCOP is scheduled to consider the Adjustment Appropriations on Friday, 30 November 2018.

Issued by the Office of the ANC Chief Whip, comrade Jackson Mthembu.

Nonceba Mhlauli

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