*Crucial SA vote faces threat of delay in ‘watershed’ case*
22 minutes ago Jenna Etheridge
A “watershed” case dealing with the rights of independent candidates was of such urgency and importance that it could end up postponing the elections in May, the Western Cape High Court heard on Wednesday.
Advocate Alan Nelson, for the New Nation Movement, stressed to Judge Siraj Desai that the omission in the electoral act to provide for independent candidates to stand for national and provincial elections was a “massive constitutional crisis”.
Desai said that was a very serious term to use.
Nelson said the matter dealt with the process of how political leaders were chosen.
“We submit this [process] has got nothing to do with the people,” said Nelson.
“This is about finding a way to ensure ethical and accountable leaders are appointed. The lack of accountability is the single, most important cause for the problems this country is facing.”
*Just a temporary measure*’
He said a system based only on political parties “was intended as a temporary measure only… It was never intended that we would forever be bound by this system”.
The application followed the Constitutional Court judgment in June last year in which Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng noted that there was no reason why any citizen could not stand as an independent candidate to be elected to municipal councils, provincial legislatures or the National Assembly.
“The enjoyment of this right has not been prescribed by the Constitution. It is just not facilitated by legislation,” Mogoeng noted at the time.
Nelson, who indicated that he had come out of retirement to argue this case, said that Desai’s order would need to be verified by the Constitutional Court.
*Postponement of the election*‼
Desai doubted that the highest court in the land would hear the matter by the time citizens make their mark on the ballot papers.
Nelson said no one knew that for a fact.
“If the matter cannot be resolved by 8th o