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The ConCourt rejected Bosa and ICA’s petition to amend the Electoral Amendment Act

Independent candidates running in the national and provincial elections in 2024 have failed to persuade the Constitutional Court that the Electoral Amendment Act, which was passed into law in April, infringed their rights.

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The complainants contested both the entry threshold for independent candidates for the national election and the number of seats available to independent candidates in the National Assembly.

The Independent Candidates Association (ICA) and Build One South Africa (Bosa) submitted the matter to the Apex Court, requesting that the court decide on the constraints imposed on them.

This covered whether it is unreasonable and contradictory with the Constitution to limit independent candidates to only 200 of the 400 members in the National Assembly.

The ICA aimed to compete for at least 350 seats.

The petitioners also want the number of signatures necessary to contest an election reduced from 10,000 to 1,000.

Independent candidates who are not affiliated with political parties will be permitted to run for office for the first time in 2024.

The Electoral Amendment Act, which divides the 400 Parliamentary seats into 200 regional seats and 200 national seats, was not illegal or unreasonable, according to Justice Nonkosi Mhlantla, who delivered the verdict on Monday.

“The applicant failed to prove it is irrational or that it infringes on a provision in the Bill of Rights. Therefore, the applicants have not made out a case to justify a declaration of constitutional invalidity,” Justice Mhlantla said.

Mhlantla added that the apex court could not interfere with a decision “simply because it disagrees with it”.

“Even if the 350/50 split proposed by the applicants might arguably be fairer and achieve proportionality, Sections 46(1) and 105(1) of the Constitution expressly leave the choice of the electoral system in Parliament’s hands,” she said.