Constitutional Court extends Electoral Act Invalidity Order Deadline
The Constitutional Court has further extended, temporarily, its declaration of invalidity order deadline for the Electoral Act until 31 January to allow Parliament to finalise the Electoral Amendment Bill.
Last week, Parliament lodged an urgent application to the Constitutional Court requesting that it be granted a further extension of the deadline for the finalisation of the Electoral Amendment Bill – from 10 December 2022 until 28 February 2023.
In its submission to the Court, Parliament argued that this short extension is designed to permit adequate public participation in respect of the amendments proposed by the National Council of Provinces after the Bill was passed by the National Assembly on October 20.
Parliament submitted that there would be no prejudice to any party should the further extension be granted, as the Electoral Commission would still have sufficient time to prepare for the 2024 elections.
In its ruling, the apex court said its declaration of invalidity order is further suspended from 10 June 2022 to 31 January 2023 pending a final determination by it on the extension sought by Parliament.
In June 2020, the Constitutional Court declared that the Electoral Act was constitutionally invalid - insofar as it makes it impossible for candidates to stand for political office without being members of political parties.
The court suspended its ruling for 24 months and gave Parliament until 10 June 2022 to rectify the constitutional defects in the Act and to make provision for independent candidates to contest elections to the National Assembly (NA) and the provincial legislatures.
The court ordered the respondents, who include, the New Nation Movement, the President of the Republic and the Electoral Commission of South Africa, to file their answering affidavits on or before Monday, 19 December 2022.