Electoral Amendment Process Shines Light on Attempts to Close Democratic Debate

On 20 October as the National Assembly debated the Electoral Amendment Bill, we called on political parties to #RejectTheBill. We argued that the process towards adopting the Bill is flawed and prioristised the voices of political parties over the voices of the public.

The public participation process was inadequate, the Minister of Home Affairs ignored the majority view of the MAC and, the Bill contradicts the Constitutional Court’s ruling. Of course, the National Assembly passed the Bill thanks to the ANC majority, the EFF, Pan-Africanist Party and the National Freedom Party with the rest of the parties heeding the call to #RejectTheBill.
Listen to our Electoral Systems Researcher, Letlhogonolo Letshele discuss our calls to MPs to #RejectTheBill below.


The plenary also gave rise to concerning comments made by the EFF, stating that organisations including My Vote Counts were “stooges and puppets of the Oppenheimers and George Soros”. The EFF focused on this vitriol as a means to not only divert focus from the core issue but did so to close the democratic space and not allow for activism and debate.

Members of Parliament represent everyone, not just their political parties. The role of Parliament is to consult the public and every person has the right to be heard by Parliament. Tellingly, the EFF voted for the fatally flawed Electoral Amendment Bill, the contents of which are an insult to the electorate and its process undermines participatory democracy. Our intention was to oppose the prioritisation of political party interests over the interests of people. Our interest is to deepen democracy, not undermine it.

Read our response to the EFF’s claims  

People’s Hearings on electoral reform

As part of our commitment to allow for public engagement around important matters, we’ve been embarking on a series of public engagements to discuss the Electoral Amendment Bill. We’ve convened in East London so far. We’ll be in Durban on 2 November at The Station Urban Event Space and in Cape Town on 17 November at the Isivivana Centre. For all these engagements we will be joined by Dr Sithembile Mbete who served on the Ministerial Advisory Committee on the Electoral Amendment Bill.

Shifting focus to the public funding of political parties

Earlier this month we extended the scope of our campaign on political party funding by exploring the public funding of political parties. We launched a briefing paper — which was accompanied by a webinar that had Sipho Mbele from the Progressive Business Forum and facilitated by Cathy Mohlhanana veteran journalist — introducing the argument for public funding to political parties.

The paper provides a framework for understanding public funding in South Africa, provide insight on the nature of party funding, discuss how public funding can be used as a solution for the funding issues that political parties face in South Africa and to lessen reliance on private funding and will provide recommendations for the use of public funding in South Africa.

You can watch a recording of the webinar here
You can find the paper here

Our Party Funding Researcher, Robyn Pasensie wrote about the need to focus on public funding and makes an argument that this does require greater accountability and transparency as public monies are spent on these public representatives. “But if our political parties are receiving public money derived from our taxes, what does that mean for us? One would hope that this means we have greater accountability because large sums of money are being funnelled to our political parties directly from our pockets.”

Read Robyn’s oped here

We also noted an opinion piece by the ANC National Spokesperson, Pule Mabe in which he made false claims about the Political Party Funding Act. In it he also claimed that the PPFA was to blame for the party’s financial troubles. MVC felt the need to set the record straight for readers by responding to Mabe with an oped.

Our response to Pule Mabe

Focus on intra-party democracy for Democracy Dissected episode 4

For the October edition of our monthly radio slot, Democracy Dissected, on Radio 786 100.4FM, we focused on the internal workings of political parties and the concept of intra-party democracy (IPD). Our Senior Researcher and author of MVC’s IPD research, Joel Bregman, was in conversation with Head of Communications & Stakeholder Management, Sheilan Clarke about the fundamentals of IPD but also what we should be looking at as we approach the ANC’s Elective Conference in December.

Listen to ep 4

Meetings & Workshops

This month saw a few opportunities for MVC to attend various meetings and workshops including a few by one of our funders, the Raith Foundation. These included workshops on communications as well as finance & fundraising.

Coming up in the next few weeks…

As we enter the last stretch of 2022, we have a webinar on the cards looking into intra-party democracy paying special attention to the upcoming ANC Elective Conference happening in December. More information on this will be shared soon.

If you’re in Durban, do join us on 2 November at The Station Urban Event Space for the next People’s Hearing on the Electoral Amendment Bill. We will convene in Cape Town on 17 November at the Isivivana Centre. For all these engagements we will be joined by Dr Sithembile Mbete who served on the Ministerial Advisory Committee on the Electoral Amendment Bill.

Until next time!