OUTA would like an electoral system that strengthens the voters’ ability to hold politicians to account.
The case that changes how candidates may stand for election in national and provincial elections
In July 2019, OUTA applied to the Constitutional Court for permission to join a case calling for electoral reform. OUTA applied to be an amicus curiae (a friend of the court) in the matter; this application was granted. In June 2020, the Concourt ruled that sections of the Electoral Act were unconstitutional and overturned them. The declaration of invalidity was suspended for two years, to give Parliament time to rewrite this law, to allow independent candidates to stand for election.
The case (CCT110/19) was brought by the New Nation Movement NPC and others against the President and others. It revolved around whether the Electoral Act is unconstitutional because it prevents independent candidates from standing in a national or provincial election.
OUTA is not associated with and holds no brief for the original applicants, but regarded this case as a matter worthy of intervention due to the public importance of electoral reform for holding politicians to account. OUTA wants the law to be amended to allow individuals to stand as independent candidates in national and provincial elections, rather than the current system which allows only party candidates.
Independent candidates are more answerable to their voters as they face a real likelihood of being voted out if they fail to honour election promises. A system which allows for independent candidates will help mitigate the threats to accountability of the party list system.
A copy of the Concourt judgment is here.