10 December 2018

South Africa: Criminals Can Vote, but Psychiatric Patients Are Still Barred

analysis

All societies impose age thresholds for activities regarded as an adult and a universal adult franchise should be just that - universal.

In a disturbing about-turn that defied the recommendations of both the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and the Human Rights Commission, Parliament has passed the Electoral Amendment Bill without any amendment of two clauses in the Electoral Act that bar anyone "detained" in a psychiatric hospital or "declared to be of unsound mind or mentally disordered" from taking part in the electoral process.

As a result, about 30 000 people will be barred from voting in the 2019 general election simply because they are ill. Perhaps more importantly, we as a nation continue to exclude this group of individuals from one of the most fundamental rights we have in a democracy. How can this be, when we are supposed to have a universal franchise and our Constitution outlaws unfair discrimination?

A campaign to have these two discriminatory clauses deleted from the Act has been underway since 2010 when Parliament passed the current Electoral Amendment Act. Led by Annie Robb of the Ubuntu advocacy organisation, the campaign enjoys the support of the South African Society of Psychiatrists,...

South Africa

Minimal Decline in AIDS-Related Deaths Worries MSF

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is concerned about the minimal decline in mortality due to AIDS-related diseases since… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

More From: Daily Maverick

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.