…By Roland Peterson for TDPel Media.
The Independent Candidate Association of South Africa has submitted a direct access application to the Constitutional Court, raising a constitutional challenge to the Electoral Amendment Act.
The association contends that the Act, which permits independent candidates to participate in elections, creates an uneven playing field compared to party political candidates.
Unequal Treatment of Independent Candidates
According to Michael Louis, Chairperson of the association, the amended act allows independents to compete for regional seats but not for “compensatory seats.”
As a result, independents require a significantly higher number of votes to secure a seat compared to party candidates.
The association argues that this 200/200 split between regional and compensatory seats is unjustified and unconstitutional.
Impact on Election Outcome and Fairness
The Independent Candidate Association asserts that the unequal treatment of independent candidates undermines the fairness of the election outcome.
They argue that a large number of wasted and excess votes for independents will be allocated to parties, skewing the results.
The absence of “compensatory seats” in provincial legislature elections supports the claim that they are unnecessary in the electoral system.
Urgency for Amendment and Application to 2024 Elections
The association highlights the need for amendments to be made prior to the national and provincial elections scheduled for next year.
Given the limited time available, they seek expedited consideration from the Constitutional Court, bypassing the normal court process starting with the high court.
Additionally, they request that any approved amendments be applicable to the 2024 elections.
The Association’s Proposal for Quota Adjustment
The Independent Candidate Association proposes a simple remedy to restore fairness and proportionality.
They recommend reducing the number of compensatory seats from 200 to 50, bringing the quota required by independents closer to that of parties.
This adjustment aims to achieve overall proportionality in the composition of the National Assembly without disturbing the seat distribution among parties.
Significance and Interest of the Case
The association argues that direct access to the Constitutional Court is in the interest of justice and of significant public interest, particularly in anticipation of the upcoming election and the necessary preparations.
The respondents, including the President, the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Minister of Home Affairs, the Independent Electoral Commission, and registered political parties, are yet to file their papers in response to the application.Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn