Electoral Amendment Bill a perversion of democracy

Issued by Adrian Roos MP – DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Home Affairs
17 Apr 2023 in News

The Electoral Amendment Bill signed into law today, is a perversion of democracy.

This legislation fails on both the grounds of fair participation by independent candidates as well as general proportionality. The Bill was meant to facilitate the participation of independent candidates in National and Provincial elections in a way that general proportionality is retained. Instead, the ANC twisted the seat allocation system in such a way that the lions’ share of wasted votes goes to the ANC.

When the Bill was being finalised, Thabo Mbeki was quoted as saying that: “When the matter was discussed at the (ANC) national executive committee (NEC) not long ago, you had members of the NEC of the ANC saying we must write the electoral law so that the ANC wins. Comrades cited examples to reinforce this point. How can the ANC design electoral policy so that it wins?”.

According to an ANC internal poll the DA has closed in within 10 percentage points behind the ANC. And so, the ANC’s goal to ensure that it wins is being intensified in this Bill through crafty calculations. Independent candidates are not able to stand on the national ballot, but instead can stand on all of the provincial ballots. This not only limits them to contest for half the seats in parliament, but the total of those votes gained across the different provinces is not added together. Why do it this way?

Alternatively, in each province where the independent candidate stands and does not get a seat these “wasted votes” go into a trough. And because overall proportionality has been removed, the ANC now scoops out the majority of votes left in these troughs through a “recalculation system”.

In this ingenious system, the ANC get the wasted votes of persons who didn’t vote for them. Under this Act, wasted votes will be more costly than ever as the majority of them go to the ANC.

In 2024 every single vote will count.

The real cry from voters for the longest of times has been for accountability. And this legislation establishes yet another Electoral Task Team. One thing you can count on is that the ANC, to quote Kgalema Motlanthe, “has no appetite for a system that creates accountability.”

A 2013 Bill by the DA’s James Selfe called for such a system to strengthen accountability and improve Parliament’s ability to exercise its oversight mandate. The Bill was rejected by the ANC.

Each and every person who believes in the shared values of freedom, fairness, opportunity and diversity will have to cast their vote in 2024 to ensure that this ANC government is held accountable through the ballot box and that no amount of manipulation and scheming will help them cling to power.