ConCourt got too big for its boots on Electoral Act, moans ANC chief whip
Pemmy Majodina says the 24-month time frame is unfair as a number of acts will have to be reviewed
ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina has accused the judiciary of “overreach” after the Constitutional Court judgment allowing independent candidates to stand for provincial and national elections.
The court found that exclusive party proportional representation could no longer be used.
The judgment, handed down earlier this month, gave parliament 24 months to correct the defect in the Electoral Act, going against parliament’s request to be given 36 months to complete the task.
During Thursday’s meeting of the national assembly’s programming committee, Majodina described the ruling as “very ambitious”, saying it was unfair for the court to expect MPs to correct electoral system defects in just two years.
While mainly protesting against the 24-month deadline, she also questioned the contents of the ruling.
She began by agreeing with her FF Plus counterpart Corne Mulder who described the judgment as “strange” because when the Constitutional Court certified the constitution in 1996, it was decided that the electorate should express its will through political parties, he said.
Majodina said not only was it strange, but it was also unfair.
“When you talk about independent candidates at a provincial and national level, what type of a ballot paper are you talking about?
“What would be the prescript for one to be voted for on the [provincial] legislature or for him or her to join national parliament?
“And what if this person dies, what happens on the list, because there is no list of independent candidates?” she asked.
Majodina added that reviewing the electoral system would be cumbersome for parliament.
This time frame of 24 months is just unfair and the sooner we let the judiciary know ... whilst we respect the judiciary, at times the judiciary overreaches.ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina
She said the ruling impacted the electoral act and six or seven others, which would need to be reviewed.
“This time frame of 24 months is just unfair and the sooner we [let] the judiciary know ... while we respect the judiciary, at times the judiciary overreaches,” she said.
“I’m not attacking the judiciary, but judiciary overreach to an extent that we are lawmakers and we are supposed to follow each and every process.
“We cannot be subjected to hurry this thing and deliver proper results on time. It’s a very ambitious sort of judgment.”
Majodina was supported by the national assembly’s programming whip, Chana Pilane-Majake, who said while she understood SA was a constitutional democracy, the judiciary occasionally encroached on parliament’s work.
Deputy speaker Lechesa Tsenoli, who chaired the session, warned his colleagues that the Constitutional Court had made a decision and that parliament must organise itself appropriately to undertake a very complex set of processes to fulfil the requirement of the judgment.
“Any debates that we may have about issues relating to our relationship will be secondary,” he said.