South Africa: National Assembly Passes the Electoral Matters Amendment Bill

Republic of South Africa: The Parliament
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The National Assembly (NA) today, during its hybrid plenary, passed the Electoral Matters Amendment Bill.

The Bill seeks to amend the Political Party Funding Act of 2018. Among its key objectives is to align various pieces of legislation with the Electoral Amendment Act of 2023, which enables independent candidates to contest elections for seats in the National Assembly and provincial legislatures.

The Bill further seeks to regulate the private and public funding of independent candidates and independent representatives.

Additionally, the Bill provides for the inclusion of independent representatives who may receive funds from the Multi-Party Democracy Fund (MPDF). The fund aims to raise and distribute donated funds from the private sector to represented political parties. Administered by the IEC, the MPDF will now include independent candidates.

The Bill prevents the Electoral Commission from accepting donations for the MPDF if there is reason to believe it is the proceeds of crime. The Commission can also suspend the payment of money to a represented political party, independent political party, or independent representative if it is satisfied on reasonable grounds that the represented political party or independent representative has failed to comply with the Act.

According to the Bill, a political party, independent representative, or independent candidate must disclose all donations they received to the Commission. A juristic person or entity that donates to a political party, independent representative or independent candidate above the threshold prescribed must disclose this to the Commission.

The Bill also makes it an offence – punishable with a fine, imprisonment or both – where donations are made to gain political influence and favour. It makes it an offence to donate to a political party, a member of a political party, an independent candidate, or an independent representative in the expectation that the party, member, representative or candidate concerned will influence the awarding of a tender, licence, approval, consent or permission, or the relaxation of a condition or restriction, the provision states.

The National Assembly passed the Bill with 240 votes to 90.

The Bill will now be sent to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.

Source: Apo-Opa

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