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Polls haven't been free and fair, says group fighting for independent candidates

The parties want the Constitutional Court to declare as unconstitutional and invalid sections of the Electoral Act which prevents independent candidates from contesting the provincial and national elections.

FILE: IEC voting station signage. Picture: Ian Bredenkamp/iWN

JOHANNESBURG – The Counsel for Groups and Individuals which applied to the Constitutional Court to have next week's elections put on hold over the exclusion of independent candidates on the ballot said that the country's elections have not been free and fair since the adoption of the proportional representation system.

The application was postponed to 15 August, while its urgency was dismissed.

The parties want the Constitutional Court to declare as unconstitutional and invalid sections of the Electoral Act which prevents independent candidates from contesting the provincial and national elections.

Advocate Alan Nelson SC, who argued on behalf of the applicants at the Constitutional Court, had a hard time convincing the judges about the urgency of the hearing, with elections just days away.

He was asked about the implications of a decision to allow for a dispute over the lawfulness of the polls in their current format to be heard, which included a possible postponement of the elections.

The parties, which include the New Nation Movement and the Indigenous First Nation Advocacy SA, wanted the court to force the now-dissolved Parliament to enact a law in the Electoral Act allowing individuals to stand for election to the National Assembly or the provincial legislature other than through political party lists.