Mmusi Maimane targets 10 municipalities in local polls
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Johannesburg – One South Africa Movement (OSA) leader Mmusi Maimane has unveiled 10 municipalities which it will target for the upcoming local government elections in October.
OSA said it will be using independent candidates and community-led independent organisations as a proof of concept of what can be achieved at national and provincial government level in the 2024 general elections.
In a media briefing held at the Constitution Hill on Friday, Maimane said the 10 municipalities collectively, are home to over 2.1 million citizens.
The targeted municipalities are: Emfuleni Local Municipality in Gauteng, Greater Letaba Local Municipality in Limpopo, Lepele-Nkumpi Local Municipality also in Limpopo, Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality in the Eastern Cape, Beyers Naude Local Municipality also in the Eastern Cape, J. S. Moroka Local Municipality in Mpumalanga, Moses Kotane Local Municipality in North West, Ubuntu Local Municipality in Northern Cape, Cederberg Local Municipality in Western Cape and Knysna Local Municipality, also in the Western Cape.
The municipalities the OSA is targeting are currently dominated by the ruling party ANC and Maimane’s former political home, the DA.
Maimane said each community-led independent organisation in the municipalities will register under Section 15A of the Electoral Commission Act, a mechanism that allows for the registration of an organisation or movement to participate in municipal elections, without being registered as a traditional political party with political party structures.
He said by using this mechanism, independent candidates can stand for election in various wards, while also registering as a conglomerate of independent candidates to gain the benefit of the proportional representation (PR) vote.
“OSA will provide these independent candidates and community-led independent organisations with technical expertise, management and roll out of professionalised election campaigns, tailor made for each specific municipality. This will include support and guidance in registering to contest the elections, selecting their candidates, developing their campaign plan, and executing the election campaign,” said Maimane.
“We can confirm that later in this month the Independent Candidate Association of South Africa (ICA) will be formed. ICA is a statutory body that will be the custodian of all independent candidates standing for elections in national, provincial and local government, as well as the custodianship of training, best practices, accountability, values and ethics,” he said.
Today marks the one year anniversary since the Constitutional Court made a ruling that changed the South African political landscape. Parts of the electoral system were ruled to be unconstitutional, and Parliament was ordered to change electoral laws to allow for independents, not aligned to any political party, to stand for election to the National Assembly and provincial legislatures in accordance with section 19(3)(b) of the Constitution.
Parliament has two years to make this change in order for the new law to be in effect well before the next general elections in 2024.
Maimane said following the court’s ruling, the Electoral Laws Amendment Bill 2020 – the “Direct Elections Bill” – was drafted by a team of legal experts under the guidance of OSA Chairperson, Dr Michael Louis.
He said the bill was published in the Government Gazette on 20 August 2020 and lodged in the Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs on 18 November 2020 by Cope leader Mosioua Lekota.
The bill seeks to satisfy the court’s ruling by changing the law to allow for independents having the right to stand for election, smaller national parliament and provincial legislatures, an open and transparent party list system, constituency based elections made up of 52 constituencies, a single transferable vote so as to ensure no votes are wasted and electronic elections.
“We maintain that it is entirely practical and possible for the changes to be implemented within the two-year period and as such categorically oppose any application by the Minister of Home Affairs or Parliament for an extension to the current 12 June 2022 deadline.
“Both the Speaker of Parliament and the Minister of Home Affairs ought to make a firm commitment that neither will seek a postponement to the Constitutional Court deadline, and OSA will oppose any such attempts by either party, by all means possible,” said Maimane.
He said the leg work and the hard yards have already been done in changing the law.
“What remains is to convince political parties and their caucuses to place the people’s interests first and to support the Direct Elections Bill and pass it into law.
“The OSA will continue its work publicly and behind the scenes in garnering support for the bill to bring about wholescale change to our electoral system in line with the Constitutional Court’s order,” he said.