Independents face strict measures to contest National Assembly: Motsoaledi

The Bill once passed will see an overhaul of the electoral system with independent candidates allowed to contest national elections for the first time.

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi at a media briefing on 25 October 2021. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said independent candidates will have to meet strict requirements to contest for the National Assembly.

Motsoaledi was briefing the Home Affairs Committee on the Ministerial Advisory Committee’s report on Electoral Reform and the Electoral Amendment Bill.

The Bill once passed will see an overhaul of the electoral system with independent candidates allowed to contest national elections for the first time.

Minister Aaron Motsoaledi told the Home Affairs Oversight Committee that Cabinet chose to go with a multi members' constituency system which accommodates independents, but requires minimal changes to existing legislation.

This option favours inserting independents into the existing electoral system enabling them to compete with political parties for votes.

Independents will be competing for 200 of the 400 National Assembly seats.

Motsoaledi said there will be a number of requirements that each independent candidate will have to meet.

"Number one is residential qualification. Before an independent candidate can stand for election that person in that particular region must have a residential address, must be coming from there so that we don’t have people standing all over the place and in many places. Number two is voter support, how many people support you as an independent candidate," Motsoaledi said

The same applies for provincial legislatures where independent candidates will appear on provincial ballots.

The current proposal however does not permit independents to sit in the NCOP.

For this to happen the constitution must be amended not just the electoral act.