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ConCourt ruling opens door for independent candidates to stand for election in SA

The Electoral Act did not make provision for private citizens to be elected to the national or provincial legislatures as independent candidates. Stock photo.
The Electoral Act did not make provision for private citizens to be elected to the national or provincial legislatures as independent candidates. Stock photo.
Image: RAJESH JANTILAL / AFP

The Constitutional Court has declared parts of the Electoral Act unconstitutional.

In a landmark judgment delivered in front of only 20 people at the Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg, the court declared that the Act was unconstitutional in as far as it prohibits South Africans from standing for political office as independent candidates.

The Act, in its current form, forces citizens to join a political party if they have ambitions of being elected into the National Assembly and provincial legislatures.

Delivered by Justice Mbuyiselo Madlanga, the court said the Act was unconstitutional.

“It is thus declared that insofar as it makes it impossible for candidates to stand for political office without being members of political parties, the Electoral Act is unconstitutional,” Madlanga said.

The matter was brought before court by the New Nation Movement who were granted leave to appeal directly to the Constitutional Court after they failed to convince the high court.

Madlanga said that the invalidity of parts of the Act take effect from today in order to avoid invalidating elections that took place since 1994.

Parliament has 24 months to amend the Act.      

The amendment will grant every citizen of the country the right to contest elections as individual candidates.

This is a developing story.

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