President Ramaphosa signs bill allowing independent candidates to run in elections

South Africa has made a significant move towards enhancing democracy by allowing independent candidates to contest in provincial and national elections. The country’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa, signed the bill into law after a 2020 Constitutional Court ruling found it unlawful to prevent independent candidates from running for office without party membership. Read below the Independent Candidates Association’s (ICA) media statement commenting on the President’s decision to attest and sign the Electoral Bill – having huge effects and calling for it to be challenged in the Constitutional Court.


By Dr Michael Louis – ICA Chairperson 

ICA will approach the courts over President‚Äôs  decision to sign into law the unconstitutional Electoral Amendment Bill 

The Independent Candidates Association (ICA) notes today’s decision by President Cyril Ramaphosa to sign into law the unconstitutional Electoral Amendment Bill. We have for two years opposed the bill as it clearly fails to pass constitutional muster. 

Whilst we are grateful that independents now have an opportunity to stand for the first time in democratic history, the current law is in conflict with the¬†constitutional principles of ‚Äúin general, proportional representation‚ÄĚ as well as¬† that ‚Äúone vote is equal to one seat.‚Ä̬†

The ICA will be challenging the constitutionality of this Act and has already mobilised a number of other civil society organisations who will join as applicants. Legal papers are far progressed and because of the timing of the next elections, we are confident the Constitutional Court will allow direct access for the parties to contest the new law. 

It is well known that many leaders in society are opposed to the bill that has now become law. Most significant of all is Valli Moosa, who chaired the Advisory Committee to the Minister of Home Affairs on what a new electoral law should look like. 

It is unfortunate that the President has for the umpteenth time not taken civil society into his confidence and decided to sign a new law that will have a¬† detrimental effect on the 2024 elections. Since we have to first apply for direct¬†access to the Constitutional Court, we do not expect judgement before October 2023. This will give the IEC approximately 6 months to prepare for the next¬†elections ‚Äď when they in fact need at least 18 months.¬†

The ICA maintains that it is our duty to protect and advance the power of the vote, which goes to the heart of democracy. This new law must be constitutionally challenged to receive the necessary endorsement that will ensure a fair, free and credible election. 

South Africa backs law allowing individuals to run for President

By S’thembile Cele

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa signed into law a bill that will allow independent candidates to contest provincial and national elections.

The change comes after the Constitutional Court in 2020 ruled that it was unlawful for independent candidates to be barred from contesting elections without membership of a political party. 

Read more: It‚Äôs Parly v Concourt on reforming how SA MPs get elected ‚Äď politicians, incl CR, applying ‚ÄėStalingrad‚Äô

‚ÄúThe bill presents a development that can only enrich and sustain our growing constitutional democracy,‚ÄĚ Ramaphosa said in a statement on Monday. 

South Africa will hold general elections next year. The ruling African National Congress may suffer its worst electoral performance since taking over power from white minority rule in 1994, as voters contend with record power outages of up to 12 hours a day, high unemployment and inequality. 

Some preliminary surveys have predicted that support for the ANC could dip below 50%, leaving it to rely on a coalition to retain power. 

¬© 2023 Bloomberg L.P.

It‚Äôs three years since the Constitutional Court instructed Parliament to approve a new Electoral Act that will transform SA‚Äôs polity and encourage its best citizens to become MPs. Political parties, including president Cyril Ramaphosa, want none of it, and have applied ‚ÄėStalingrad‚Äô tactics to delay the end of a system which prevents independents from standing for election to Parliament. Dr Michael Louis‚Äôs One SA Movement is leading a group of 77 civic society bodies working to replace what was always supposed to be a temporary system. They are determined to overcome the stalling and change the system before the 2024 National Election. Dr Louis explains how to Alec Hogg of BizNews.
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