File photo: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)
File photo: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

ConCourt makes landmark judgment with independent candidates being allowed to stand for legislative positions

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Jun 11, 2020

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Johannesburg - The Constitutional Court has ruled that the portion of the Electoral Act which prohibits independent candidates from standing for national and provincial elections is unconstitutional. 

The apex court delivered its judgment on Thursday in a matter brought by the New Nation Movement. 

The ruling means that independent candidates who desire to stand for election, whether it be for provisional or national seats, must be permitted by law to do so. At the moment citizens who desire to stand for political positions can only do so through a political party. 

The ruling will change South Africa’s political landscape, with the country expected to head to the polls again next year for the municipal elections. It’s unclear whether this ruling will affect next year's elections. 

The court has given Parliament 24 months to make amendments to the Electoral Act of 1998 so it reflects the changes stated by the court. Justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga said the court could not see a reason why the section of the act was justifiable. 

The New Nation Movement said Parliament should consider the following measures when making amendments to the Electoral Act: 

* A hybrid electoral system – this will still allow political parties to play a role in our electoral system and not a full-blown constituency system.

* A hybrid system is already in place in local government – which results in proportional representation and is a multi-party democratic system.

* Guidance exists on what a national and provincial hybrid system could look like. This has been analysed by the Electoral Task Team Report, which should provide a starting point for Parliament. 

Political Bureau

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