/ 19 September 2023

Panel to lead electoral reforms not yet appointed, says home affairs minister

Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has intervened in the health crisis in the Eastern Cape.
Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi (Gallo)

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi told legislators on Tuesday that the National Assembly would have sufficient time and be “spoiled for choice” in considering a consultation panel report about potential electoral reforms.

He told the portfolio committee on home affairs that the electoral panel, which is yet to be appointed, would conduct “extensive investigations around the world” on the issue and present them to parliament.

He dismissed suggestions that his office was “afraid, not willing, or does not have the political will” for electoral reforms, insisting that parliament would be “given time” to consider the panel’s report, unlike the 24 months MPs were originally given in 2020 to amend the country’s electoral laws.

The Electoral Amendment Act came into effect on 17 April this year and requires the home affairs department and the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) to appoint an electoral panel within four months of the commencement of the law. 

This nine-member panel, which is subject to the approval of the National Assembly, must, within 12 months of the 2024 national and provincial elections, submit recommendations for potential reforms of the electoral system.

On Tuesday, DA MP Adriaan Roos asked the home affairs department for an update regarding the process of establishing an electoral panel. 

Since the Act commenced in mid-April, a list of nominees to serve on the electoral panel has not yet been submitted to parliament for consideration. 

In his response to parliament, Motsoaledi said the department had issued an advertisement for members of the public to submit nominations by the end of August.

According to the advert, the call for nominations opened on 19 May and closed on 5 June.

“We are going to study them very hard together with the IEC,” he said, adding that a suitable date for the meeting with the electoral body was yet to be determined.