Parly committee wants workshop to discuss law change for independent candidates

The Constitutional Court ruled in June last year that this part of the Electoral Act was unconstitutional. It has given parliament 24 months – until June 2022 – to fix the defect.

FILE: An IEC official sits behind two ballot boxes, as she waits for voters in Langa. Picture: Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN – Parliament’s Home Affairs committee wants a workshop with all parties represented in the national legislature to discuss changing the law to allow for independent candidates to stand in national and provincial elections.

Independent candidates can take part in local government elections, but until recently candidates for the national and provincial legislatures had to be put forward by their parties from a list.

The Constitutional Court ruled in June last year that this part of the Electoral Act was unconstitutional. It has given parliament 24 months – until June 2022 – to fix the defect.

Home affairs committee chairperson, Bongani Bongo, said it was the start of a long journey for Parliament.

“This is the beginning of a long road of legislative drafting by Parliament.”

Bongo said he will approach National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise for permission for a workshop where political parties can have their say on changes to the Electoral Act to allow for independent candidates to stand in national and provincial elections.

“I’m going to write to the Speaker, that we start a conversation in terms of political parties – as Parliament, we need to start engaging stakeholders."

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi was on Tuesday unable to provide details of the draft policy on changing the electoral system. He said that this must first go before Cabinet for approval.

Motsoaledi noted that a number of other laws would also need amending, including the Act governing the private funding of political parties, which comes into effect in April.

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