Applicants call for prayer ahead of electoral challenge in ConCourt on August 29

OSA team and supporters praying in the Constitutional Court on June 8 over an application to challenge the constitutionality of the Electoral Act. From the left are Adv Zarina Prabasham, Dr Michael Louis, Rev Chris Mathebula, and Strauss Daly briefing attorneys Chad Phillips and Dinesha Deepal

“Let us unite in spirit and purpose for a just and equal electoral system,” say the Independent Candidate Association (ICA) and One South Africa (OSA) in a call on South Africans to pray ahead of a pivotal case in the Constitutional Court on August 29.

The apex court will be hearing urgent constitutional challenges to the Electoral Act by ICA and OSA in a matter which is of considerable importance to next year’s general election. The Act was signed into law by the President in April after a June 2020 ruling in which the Constitutional Court found the legislation was unconstitutional and ordered Parliament to remedy it.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has said it will abide by the court’s decision, says Dr Michael Louis chairperson of ICA and OSA. The respondents — the President, the Speaker of Parliament, the Minister of Home Affairs and the IEC are opposing the applications.

In their call for South Africans to pray ahead of the hearing, the applicants highlight that the Electoral Act requires political parties to get 43 000 votes to secure a seat while independent candidates need a “staggering” 90 000 votes. “This isn’t just a number, it’s a barrier to democracy.”

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In a recent media statement OSA says the new electoral law is unreasonable, unfair and unconstitutional for at least four reasons.

  • 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.

OSA also notes that independent candidates and new parties need to achieve between 9 000 and 12 000 signatures for the National Assembly. Political parties in the past needed just 1 000 signatures, meaning the law is trying to dissuade new voices and actors to join the politic

“We need a new electoral system that will attract young people to involve themselves in democratic discourse. The country faces numerous crises, which require new voices and actors to fix it.

.”A new electoral system that improves accountability; attracts expertise and talent; and improves governance is urgently required if South Africa is to thrive and prosper,” it says.

“This isn’t just about and act or a court case. It’s about the very essence of our democracy. It’s about ensuring that our government remains ‘accountable, responsive and open’. Stand with us, stand for electoral equality and let’s shape the future of South Africa together,” say ICA and OSA in their call to prayer.

improves governance is urgently required if South Africa is to thrive and prosper,” it says.

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