DA to table Bill to allow for Premiers to call for referendums

Issued by Natasha Mazzone MP – Chief Whip of the Official Opposition
11 Jun 2021 in News

The DA is finalising a Private Members Bill (PMB) to amend the Referendums Act to give effect to the Constitutional powers of  Premiers to call a provincial referendum.

This is part of the DA’s commitment to achieve significantly greater devolution of powers to Provinces, in line with the Constitution. 

Section 84 of the Constitution provides for the President to call a national referendum. Section 127 provides for Premiers to call a provincial referendum, in terms of national legislation.

However, in its current form, the Referendums Act only allows for the President to call a referendum and does not provide for a Premier to call for a referendum in a province. The draft Bill, therefore, seeks to address this omission by an amendment enabling a Premier to exercise their Constitutional powers to call a provincial referendum, to ensure that provincial residents can make their voices heard on important issues.

Through this draft Bill, the DA seeks to advance the Party’s principle of federalism by strengthening the devolution of power to provinces. 

The DA’s Bill seeks to bring power closer to the people by giving elected Premiers the mechanism to use their constitutional powers to call referendums on crucial service delivery issues, where the dysfunctional national government has failed, such as railways, the police, and electricity generation. 

The DA will be publishing an explanatory memorandum of our proposed Bill in the Government Gazette and encourage South Africans and other interested parties to submit written representations to the Speaker of the National Assembly (speaker@parliament.gov.za) within 30 days of its publication.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.