By: Collen T Ndobo
The constitutional court of South Africa has declared the Electoral Act as it stands unconstitutional as it excludes independent candidates from contesting national and provincial elections. This means that independent candidates will be able to stand for national and provincial elections without any affiliation to a political party.
According to Electoral Commission Chairperson, Glen Mashinini, the commission hailed the clarity the Court has provided to the interpretation of the rights of citizens to stand for office.
“We will study the judgement in detail to reflect on its full implications for the current electoral system and legislative framework governing national and provincial elections.” Mashinini said
In a statement released on Thursday, 11 June 2020, parliament said that it respects the judgement of the Constitutional Court, and will study its practical implications in relation to its obligations on the legislature.
“Parliament was cited in the matter, which was brought by a non-governmental organization, the New Nation Movement. Parliament had filed a notice to abide the court’s decision, together with explanatory memorandum.
The explanatory memorandum addressed, among others, the time required for processing legislation, if amendments to the existing Electoral Act were required, and requested the court‘s consideration in this regard. The Court has provided Parliament with 24 months to revise the legislation and the Electoral Commission stands ready to provide technical assistance into this process to help enhance the electoral system.