Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele said the ball was now in the court of Parliament to process the electoral laws. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele said the ball was now in the court of Parliament to process the electoral laws. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Independent candidates can now stand as MPs and MPLs

By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi Time of article published Nov 26, 2021

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Cape Town - Parliament is in the race against time to finalise a law that would allow independent candidates to campaign and contest for positions in the national legislature and provinces.

MPs and MPLs have always been the domain of political parties who send their representatives to Parliament and provincial legislatures

However, this could change soon after Cabinet sent a new law to Parliament to approve it allowing independent candidates to go for elections at national and provincial levels.

Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele said on Thursday the ball was now in the court of Parliament to process the electoral laws.

“Cabinet approved the much awaited Electoral Amendment Bill for submission to Parliament. The Bill amends the Electoral Act of 1998 to make provision for the election of independent candidates to the National Assembly and provincial legislatures.

“In June 2020 the Constitutional Court ordered Parliament to remedy the defect in the current Electoral Act to ensure independent candidates can stand for election in the National Assembly and provincial legislatures. Cabinet further approved the submission of the (ministerial advisory committee) report that set out options to remedy the aspects of the Electoral Act that were found to be unconstitutional,” said Gungubele.

Political parties had over the years argued that MPs and MPLs represent their interests or not individuals.

However, the new law would now change as independent candidates would now campaign for seats in the National Assembly and provincial legislatures across the country.

It would be the first this is done after the Constitutional Court decision.

The decision of the court came after the New Nation Movement had taken the matter to the High Court to get independent candidates to stand as MPs and MPLs. But their application was thrown out.

However, they appealed all the way to the Constitutional Court where the court ruled in their favour.

The portfolio committee on home affairs would now have to process the Bill that has been sent by Cabinet to Parliament.

Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula would formally send the bill to the committee. The bill will also be subjected to public hearings as required by the law.

It would be approved after all the required processes have been concluded and presented before Parliament for adoption.

The inclusion of independent candidates in the ballot would come after the bill has also been signed into law by the president.

Gungubele said this was a bill that had been in the Cabinet process but now it was up to MPs in the National Assembly to deal with it.

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Political Bureau

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