ConCourt rules independent candidates may in future contest elections

The declaration has, however, been suspended for 24 months to allow the National Assembly to make the necessary constitutional amendments.

Picture: Winnie Theletsane/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Constitutional Court has ruled that the Electoral Act is unconstitutional to the extent that it requires South Africans to only contest elections through the membership of political parties.

This means independent candidates will in future contest the provincial and national elections.

The declaration has, however, been suspended for 24 months to allow the National Assembly to make the necessary constitutional amendments.

The judgment delivered on Thursday morning follows a lengthy court battle by the New Nation Movement, NPC, Chantal Dawn and others who argued that by only allowing individuals to become public representatives through political party affiliation – the Electoral Act infringed on their rights.

They further contended that this also strips the electorate the power to choose their public representatives – either members of Parliament or of legislatures – as this is conducted through a party list system.

Justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga delivered the judgment.

“Although for some there may be advantages in being a member of a political party, undeniably, political party membership also comes with impediments that may be unacceptable to others.”

The court further cemented the right to freedom of association as enshrined in the Bill of Rights – saying citizens should not be forced to associate with political parties if they so choose.

Nation Movement NPC and Others v President.pdf by Primedia Broadcasting on Scribd