Defend Our Democracy calls on Motsoaledi to explain failure to appoint Electoral Reform Consultation Panel
Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi still hasn’t appointed an Electoral Reform Consultation Panel nearly a month after the prescribed deadline for its formation. Civil society movement Defend Our Democracy has called for an explanation, arguing that every day the appointment is delayed is a day less to consider electoral reform options.
Civil society movement Defend Our Democracy has called on Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi to explain why he has failed to meet the deadline to appoint an Electoral Reform Consultation Panel.
When President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the Electoral Amendment Bill into law in April, it was stipulated that the panel needed to be established within four months of gazetting the amendments. This placed the deadline for establishing the panel on 19 October.
“Following the stipulated independent investigations and consultations, the panel will make non-binding recommendations on potential reforms of the electoral system for future elections of the National Assembly and the provincial legislatures after the 2024 polls,” stated the Presidency on the role of the panel.
According to Defend Our Democracy, civil society organisations were among the groups that submitted nominees for the panel earlier this year. However, to date, no panel has been appointed.
“Defend Our Democracy believes that the failure by Minister Motsoaledi to establish the Electoral Reform Consultation Panel in the time frame prescribed by law has a direct impact on its effectiveness,” stated the organisation.
“In terms of the law, the deadline for the panel to complete its report is 12 months after the 2024 election and so every day its appointment is delayed, is a day less to consider electoral reform options, consult with stakeholders and undertake meaningful public participation.”
Defend Our Democracy claimed that Parliament had “consistently dragged its feet” on the issue of electoral reform, resulting in “inadequate public consultation and the flawed Electoral Amendment Act that we currently have”.
“We call on Minister Motsoaledi to now fulfil what he is legally obliged to do and appoint the panel as a matter of urgency,” it said.
Daily Maverick reached out to Motsoaledi’s spokesperson, Thabo Mokgola, with questions about why the minister had failed to meet the deadline and when he was likely to appoint a panel. Mokgola acknowledged the media query and said he would respond but had not provided answers at the time of publishing.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has previously called for an explanation for Motsoaledi’s failure to appoint a panel by the deadline. In a statement issued on 19 October, Adrian Roos — DA MP and Shadow Deputy Minister of Home Affairs — said no names had been tabled for consideration with the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, despite the call for nominations being published as far back as May.
“The DA raised the alarm bell on 19 September 2023, indicating the urgency of the matter to Minister Motsoaledi after he had advised the Committee on Home Affairs that the Electoral Reform Advisory Committee may be finalised in November,” said Roos.
“This is the latest in a series of stalling tactics on electoral reform by the ANC government. From the Electoral Amendment Bill, to the consequential amendments on the Bill and now the Electoral Reform [Consultation] Panel, Minister Motsoaledi has delayed electoral reform every step of the way.” DM