On Thursday, Judge Mbuyiseli Madlanga of the Constitutional Court announced that independent candidates can now run in the provincial and national elections.
The announcement was made when Judge Madlanga found the Electoral Act as unconstitutional. The current Electoral Act states that only members affiliated with a political party may stand in provincial and national elections. The matter was raised by the non-governmental organisation, the New Nation Movement.
Judge Madlanga says that the current act limits the right of freedom of association and as free as people are to associate, so should they be free to not associate. He says that while there are advantages to associating with a political party, some affiliations may be too restrictive or too censoring to some. These limitations the Judge says, may take away from the idea of a free self.
The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) says that it is willing to assist in revising the electoral system and laws following the ruling.
IEC Chairperson Glen Mashinini says, “The Electoral Commission welcomes the clarity the Court has provided to the interpretation of the rights of citizens to stand for public office. We will study the judgment in detail to reflect on its full implications for the current electoral system and legislative framework governing national and provincial elections,”.
Judge Madlanga says that the declaration has been suspended for two years to allow for Parliament to process the necessary adjustments to the law.