Civil society to challenge new electoral law in ConCourt

Civil society to challenge new electoral law in ConCourt

Several civil society organisations have rejected the Electoral Amendment Bill in its current form, after President Cyril Ramaphosa signed it into law on Monday.

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The law allows independent candidates to stand in provincial and national elections in 2024.

It also gives a space for independent candidates along regional lines, stipulating that in regions where individuals are contesting elections, ballot papers must include their names alongside political parties.

However, My Vote Counts’ Lehlogonlo Letshele says there is discrepancies with the new law, and the bill is unfair to independent candidates.

Letshele says there was also not enough public participation before the bill was signed into law.

"We are shocked that the president did not consult Parliament, or the Constitutional Court regarding some of the issues raised about the bill. The bill is unconstitutional, and it is unfair to independent candidates, they will not be able to contest freely against political parties."

"We also raised issues with public consultation process, the bill was introduced late in Parliament and people were not even aware about the bill, and it is a prominent bill because it changes how we are going to vote. People were not engaged in a complex process, and people were not engaged critically with the bill.”

Build One South Africa's Mudzuli Rakhivhane says they will support civil society challenging the new law in the Constitutional Court.

"We reject the new law and maintain that it is unconstitutional. Due to the president’s ill-advised decision to rubber stamp this flawed bill, it is back to courts. We note and support the decision by a grouping of civil society organisations to challenge the bill in the Constitutional Court."

"This new law is unreasonable, unfair and unconstitutional for at least four reasons which are the discarding of excess votes; independent candidates are limited to only half the seats (200) in Parliament; the addition of onerous threshold requirements for independents to stand for election; and the matter of vacancies in Parliament that arise through resignation or death, whereby the individual’s seat is ultimately going to be given to bigger parties."


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