The Inclusive Society Institute (ISI) hosted a range of civil society organisations at its offices in Cape Town on Friday, 22 July 2022, to further deliberate the passage of legislation aimed at reforming the electoral system in South Africa.
Whilst the Constitutional Court ruled that the current electoral system is unconstitutional in that it does not allow for independent candidates to stand for election, and that the legislature needs to remedy the defect, civil society is of the view that the electoral reform needs to go far beyond the mere accommodation of independent candidates.
At the meeting a two-step process for electoral reform was advanced. Step one, in preparation for the 2024 general election, would respond to the Constitutional Court judgement as it relates to independent candidates, whilst the second step would aim to bring about broader reform in time for the 2029 general election. The second step would consider issues such as a constituency-based election, since there is a recognition that such a system would require preparatory processes such as, for example, constituency demarcation, which will not be able to be concluded in time for the 2024 election.
Civil society remains concerned about a number of constitutional aspects to the current Bill being considered by Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, which, they insist, needs to be corrected before being enacted.
The Inclusive Society Institute will continue to work with civil society and the political fraternity to advance free and fair electoral processes that will promote a greater sense of accountability and representivity.