The Constitutional Court has granted Parliament a six-month extension of the deadline to amend the Electoral Act, to allow independent candidates to stand in national and provincial elections.
The apex court handed down judgment on Friday morning.
The extension comes after the Constitutional Court in June 2020 ruled on the unconstitutionality of the Electoral Act, which states that only those associated with political parties may contest for national and local elections and be elected to the National Assembly and provincial legislatures.
In its ruling, the court suspended its order of the Act’s invalidity for 24 months until 10 June, which then required Parliament to make the necessary amendments “to remedy the defect giving rise to the unconstitutionality” in this period.
The case was brought by the New Nation Movement to the apex court to ask that independent candidates be allowed to stand as lawmakers in the National Assembly and provincial legislatures.
Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and National Council of Provinces chairperson Amos Masondo approached the apex court to seek an extension, in order to enable Parliament to properly deliberate on the Bill and allow independent candidates to share their views.
“This Bill is amending the electoral system and therefore its enactment involves complex policy issues which impact on all adult citizens.”
Parliament said a number of other laws, other than the Electoral Act, may also need to be amended.
Meanwhile, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said only two political parties have disclosed their funding during the fourth quarter for the financial year 2021/22.
The IEC said the Fourth Quarter Disclosure Report covers all qualifying donations declared by political parties for the three-month period between January and March 2022.
Political parties are compelled to submit information related to donations accepted over a certain period in line with the Political Party Funding Act.
The African National Congress (ANC) received R10 million and the Democratic Alliance (DA) R2.5 million.