IEC Welcomes ConCourt Ruling that Independents Can Stand for Election

The Independent Electoral Commission has welcomed today’s judgment by the Constitutional Court declaring parts of the Electoral Act unconstitutional, notably regarding the law that only candidates of political parties can contest national and provincial elections.

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The court ruled, “The Electoral Act is unconstitutional to the extent that it requires adult citizens to be elected to the National Assembly and Provincial Legislatures only through membership of political parties.” The case had been brought by the New Nation Movement, whose coordinators are Bulelani Mkhohliswa and Ben Alberts, and others.

“The Electoral Commission welcomes the clarity the court has provided to the interpretation of the rights of citizens to stand for public office,” IEC chairman Glen Mashinini said in a statement. “We will study the judgment in detail to reflect on its full implications for the current electoral system and legislative framework governing national and provincial elections.”

The commission said the timing of this judgment, and the parliamentary review of the electoral system it prompts is opportune, given both the maturing of South Africa’s democracy and the looming impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on election processes around the world.

The court has provided Parliament with 24 months to revise the legislation and the IEC said it stood ready to provide technical assistance into this process to help enhance the country’s electoral system.