Parliament of South Africa

03/02/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/02/2021 08:06

National Council of Provinces Amends Electoral Laws Amendment Bill and Agrees to Restart Process of Appointing National Youth Development Agency Board Members

Parliament, Tuesday 2 March 2021 - The National Council of Provinces (NCOP), during its virtual sitting this morning, agreed to the Electoral Laws Amendment Bill with amendments and the Bill will now be sent back to the National Assembly (NA) for further consideration.

The Bill seeks to amend three existing elections-relates laws in preparation for forthcoming local government elections.

These laws are the Electoral Commission Act, 1996 (Act No. 51 of 1996) ('Electoral Commission Act'); the Electoral Act, 1998 (Act No. 73 of 1998) ('Electoral Act'); and the Local Government: Municipal Electoral Act, 2000 (Act No. 27 of 2000) ('Local Government: Municipal Electoral Act').

Main objectives of the Bill are to:

  • enhance existing legislative mechanisms that ensure free and fair elections, in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996
  • provide legislative authorisation for innovations in electoral practices, in keeping with best practice, to improve the Electoral Commission's efficiency in managing elections
  • align the Electoral Act with provisions of the Protection of Personal Information Act 2013 (Act No. 4 of 2013) regarding protection of the personal information of voters

Also at its sitting today, the NCOP adopted the Report of the Select Committee on Health and Social Services to restart, from scratch, the process of appointing National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) Board members.

The NA plenary sitting on Tuesday 23 February considered and adopted the report from the Portfolio Committee on Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, which also made this recommendation.

In July last year, the Sub-Committee on Appointment of the NYDA Board Members considered requests by the Speaker of the NA and the Chairperson of the NCOP to facilitate the process for appointing persons to serve on the NYDA Board. The Sub-Committee resolved that seven candidates be recommended by the Portfolio and the Select Committees of both Houses of Parliament.

The process to nominate the seven candidates for appointment to the NYDA Board came under criticism. Chief among these was that the list of recommended candidates for appointment was not inclusive and representative of the country's demographics.

Following advice and legal opinion received from the NA Speaker's office on how to proceed, the two committees resolved to recommend that the process of appointing the NYDA Board be restarted from scratch.

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