Cope Wants Its Bill To Be Passed

Cope wants Parliament to pass its bill that would allow independent candidates to contest the general elections.
“It is urgent that the bill is enacted into law before the elections,” party spokesperson Dennis Bloem said on Thursday.

Bloem said Parliament should pass the bill party leader Mosiuoa Lekota and Cope have proposed.

He made the comments after the Electoral Commission of SA announced its readiness for the elections to be held in May.

It was also after the National Council of Provinces passed the Electoral Amendment Laws dealing with several electoral matters in preparation for the elections.

In December, Lekota published a notice to introduce a bill aimed to provide for independent candidates to contest the general elections this year.

The draft bill was published despite it having a very slim chance of being considered by Parliament before the end of term of the national legislature.

Lekota said the electoral system allowed for political parties to contest elections in the National Assembly and provincial legislatures.

“While there are some advantages of such a system, there are also some weaknesses such as lack of accountability of members of the relevant legislatures to their voters, alienation of voters from the political system, and no provision is made for the voting public to vote for individual members,” Lekota said.

He charged that this state of affairs was allowed despite the Constitution providing that “every adult citizen has the right to stand for public office and, if elected, to hold office”.

Yesterday, Bloem said the passing of the bill into law depended on the workload of Parliament.

“But we as Cope want to see it (independents contesting elections) happen in the coming elections. We don’t want any delays,” Bloem added.

He took a swipe at Speaker Baleka Mbete for “delaying” the introduction of the bill to Parliament for consideration.

Mbete’s spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said he would have to look at the genesis of the bill.

However, Mothapo said Cope needed to explain why they thought a bill brought to Parliament for introduction late last year should take precedence over the business of Parliament and be rushed.


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