News / South Africa

Makhosandile Zulu
2 minute read
26 Nov 2018
3:35 pm

Amend Electoral Act for independents to contest national and provincial elections – Cope

Makhosandile Zulu

The party says this will allow the electorate to elect public representatives into national and provincial legislatures.

The Congress of the People (Cope) has called for urgent action to be taken to amend the Electoral Act to allow independent candidates to stand for elections and be allowed to hold public office in the national and provincial legislatures.

Currently, independent candidates can only contest local government elections.

The party announced at a press briefing on Monday that its president, Mosiuoa Lekota, would introduce a Private Member’s Bill in the National Assembly to affect an amendment to the Electoral Act to enable independent candidates to run for elections at national and provincial spheres of the legislatures.

Lekota said: “This proposal has been taking an inordinately long time for the speaker’s office to handle in the proper way and [give] advice accordingly so that a remedy to a serious defect is promulgated in time for the 2019 elections.”

The party further called on the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to accordingly advise parliament on the amendment of the Electoral Act to allow independent candidates to contest elections at a national and provincial level.

Lekota said this would ensure that the electorate can choose their preferred candidates to hold office at national and provincial legislatures and subsequently be empowered to hold accountable those they have elected as public representatives.

“The current proportional representation system makes it difficult to hold individual political leaders accountable,” Lekota said.

Cope said it would embark on an intense campaign to solicit the support of civil society, business formations, the religious fraternity, and other stakeholders, including concerned individuals, to support its call to amend the Electoral Act.

“[People] must have the right to choose their public representatives unencumbered by the power play by political party bosses and their machinations.

“In order to uplift the people’s power, we must first ensure that our leaders and representatives are held accountable by those who lend them their power through voting and elections.”

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