The Independent Electoral Commission says an application to allow individuals to stand as candidates in the national and provincial elections could lead to the elections being postponed by up to three years.
The application, brought by the New Nation Movement, wants the section of the Electoral Act that allows only political parties to contest provincial and national elections to be declared invalid.
This follows a ruling by the Constitutional Court that the Constitution does not prevent independent candidates from standing for elections at national and provincial levels.
However, Counsel for the IEC, Advocate Steven Budlender says the applicants’ lawyer was making political and not constitutional arguments.
“There were arguments such as ‘we don’t have a government based on the will of the people at all’. There were a series of arguments that the present system is not. AS good as the one his client would prefer. My lord that is an interesting debate that people can have, but it is not a matter of Constitutional Law even though it was said by Motlanthe and Slabert as eminent as it was.”
The New Nation Movement says it will apply for the 8 May elections to be postponed if the Western Cape High Court rules in its favour and declares the Electoral Act unconstitutional.
Previously, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng ruled that the Constitution does not prohibit independent citizens from contesting the national and provincial elections.
However, this is not legislated. Currently, independents only contest at local government level.
Counsel for the New Nation Movement contends the electoral system is defective, saying it does not promote accountability.
This statement is based on Members of Parliament being accountable to their parties, and not to the electorate. If the High Court rules in favour of the movement, it will have to be confirmed by the Constitutional Court.
Parliament will then be instructed to amend the legislation. Click below for more on the story: