Be careful what you wish for

By JP Landman

A huge amount of false hope was generated last week when the Constitutional Court ruled that the Electoral Act must be amended to allow independents to stand in elections.

Various lobby groups and commentators were excited by the prospect that constituencies will now be introduced in South Africa and that parliamentarians will then be held more accountable. This is vastly premature. Even a cursory reading of the judgement makes it clear that this is not necessarily the case.

Currently South Africans can only vote for a party and the parties then appoint candidates to the National and Provincial Parliaments. The result is that a person not belonging to a political party cannot get into Parliament and cannot serve. This is known as the list system or system of proportional representation.

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