One South Africa Movement (OSA) today disclosed the identity of 10 municipalities, which collectively are home to more than 2.1 million citizens, in which it will support independent candidates and community-led independent organisations in the local government elections on October 27.
In a media statement released exactly a year after a groundbreaking Constitutional Court ruling compelling Parliament to change SA’s electoral laws within two years to make way for independents to be elected to the highest political offices in the land, Dr Michael Louis chairman of OSA said that while the law already allows for independent candidates at local government level, the movement aims to use the October elections to demonstrate the power and potential of such candidates, and as a “proof of concept” of what can be achieved at national and provincial government level in 2024 and beyond.
OSA’s announcement of its support of independent candidates in 10 municipalities resonates with a call made last week by a movement called Raising Righteous Rulers for citizens to act now to raise independent candidates who are apolitical and accountable to the people to represent their communities and “reclaim back our municipalities”.
RRR has urged people to take action by identifying ethical leaders to stand in their communities and registering community forums with the IEC to represent their municipalities. It invites people to email them at email@example.com or to visit www.rrrsa.org for help with the process.
In today’s statement, OSA says the 10 municipalities where it will support independents are: Emfuleni Local Municipality – Gauteng, Greater Letaba Local Municipality – Limpopo, Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality – Eastern Cape, Lepele-Nkumpi Local Municipality – Limpopo, JS Moroka Local Municipality – Mpumalanga, Moses Kotane Local Municipality – North West, Beyers Naude Local Municipality – Eastern Cape, Ubuntu Local Municipality – Northern Cape. Cederberg Local Municipality – Western Cape and Knysna Local Municipality – Western Cape.
Each community-led independent organisation in these municipalities will register under Section 15A of the Electoral Commission Act, a mechanism that allows for the registration of an organisation or movement to participate in municipal elections, without being registered as a traditional political party with political party structures, says OSA. By using this mechanism, independent candidates can stand for election in various wards, while also registering as a conglomerate of independent candidates to gain the benefit of the proportional representation (PR) vote, it says.
OSA says it will provide these independent candidates and community-led independent organisations with technical expertise, management and roll out of professionalised election campaigns, tailor made for each specific municipality. This will include support and guidance in registering to contest the elections, selecting their candidates, developing their campaign plan, and executing the election campaign.
The relationship with each community-led independent organisation will be governed by a memorandum of understanding agreed to with an association in terms of which, OSA would provide the following support:
- Assisting the association with registration with the IEC.
- Developing and rolling out candidate nominations.
- Developing municipal and ward voter profiles.
- Developing a campaign strategy and plan, including bespoke messaging.
- Developing a registration campaign.
- Developing municipal and ward campaign teams
Later this month, the Independent Candidate Association of South Africa (ICA) will be formed, says OSA. It says ICA is a statutory body that will be the custodian of all independent candidates standing for elections in national, provincial and local government as well as the custodianship of training, best practices, accountability, values and ethics.
“South Africans from all walks of life are sick and tired of our politics and are losing hope in a real alternative pathway forward for our nation. We are convinced we have found the solution to give power back to communities and elect honest, equipped and passionate citizens who are answerable to their communities instead of political parties.
“It’s now time we stand up, organize and take back control of our towns and cities,” says Louis.
Regarding the electoral reform process underway in SA, OSA says that following the Constitutional Court’s ruling a year ago, the Electoral Laws Amendment Bill 2020 – the “Direct Elections Bill” – was drafted by a team of legal experts under the guidance of Dr Louis. The bill was published in the Government Gazette on August 20 last year and lodged in the Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs on November 18 2020 by MP Mosioua Lekota.
The next step in the parliamentary process is for the Home Affairs Portfolio Committee to vote on the desirability of the bill, however OSA says this is being stalled as the executive has yet to submit their electoral policy to Parliament.
“With just a year to go until the deadline, we urge the Minister of Home Affairs to expedite this process with urgency,” it says.