Written by: Pearl Kupe

On Thursday 11 June at 10h00 the Constitutional Court gave a landmark ruling on a matter that had been brought to ConCourt eight months prior on 15 August 2019.

The History & background
The matter had come before the Constitutional Court on appeal from the High Court of South Africa, Western Cape Division, Cape Town, the application having been turned down in the said Court.

On August 15, 2019 I had the privilege of attending the matter to hear the final submissions with Michael Louis, the originator of this landmark case which has forever changed the trajectory of South African politics.

Michael Louis and team at the final submissions in the Constitutional Court on August 15, 2019

A few years ago, Michael Louis stumbled across a report that had been written by the late politician Dr. Frederick Van Zyl Slabbert. The effect of this report was to change the face of South African politics, as it laid a foundation for challenging the Electoral Act. The Electoral Act was not aligned to the Constitution in that it did not make provision for Independent Candidates to run for provincial and national elections unless they were members of a political party.

Michael Louis, an attorney himself, engaged with various individuals and groups including COPE leader Mosioua Lekota who in December 2018 gazetted his intention to introduce a private member’s bill that sought to allow people not representing a political party to be elected to provincial legislatures and Parliament.

Among those whom Michael Louis engaged with were the New Nation Movement who took the matter along with other individuals and groups before the Western Cape High Court and later on appeal before the ConCourt.

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The Applicants & Respondents
The Applicants in the matter before the Constitutional Court were as follows:

First Applicant: New Nation Movemen
Second Applicant: Chantal Dawn Revelle
Third Applicant: GRO
Fourth Applicant: Indigenous First Nation Advocacy SA PBO

The Respondents were as follows:
First Respondent: The President of South Africa
Second Respondent: Minister of Home Affairs
Third Respondent: Electoral Commission
Fourth Respondent: Speaker of the National Assembly
Fifth Respondent: National Council of Provinces

Representing the matter as First and Second amicus curiae (Friends of the Court/Impartial advisors) were Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution and the Organization undoing tax abuse.

The decision/order of the Concourt

  • Leave to appeal was granted
  • The appeal was upheld
  • The order of the High Court of South Africa, Western Cape Division, Cape Town is set aside
  • The Electoral Act was held to be unconstitutional to the extent that it requires that adult citizens may be elected to the national Assembly and the Provincial Legislatures only through their membership of their political parties
  • The declaration of unconstitutionality in paragraph 4 is prospective from the date of this order, but its operation is suspended for 24 months to afford Parliament an opportunity to remedy the defect giving rise to the unconstitutionality
  • The Minister of Home Affairs must pay the applicants costs in the High Court and the Constitutional Court, such costs to include the costs of two counsel
  • Individuals will now be able to run as independent Candidates for office in the provincial and national elections without belonging to a political party.

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Practical implications of the Ruling:
This is a ground breaking and precedent setting judgement, not only for South Africa but also for Africa and the nations of the world.

Parliament has been given twenty four months to get its house in order and remedy any defects.

The nation of South Africa can prayerfully look forward to, in the future, having righteous servant hearted individuals who will run for elections as independent candidates. The nation can also look forward to directly electing the candidates they want, without any interference from political parties which was not possible previously.

Siyaphambili Ngo Jesu! Forward With Jesus!
May God raise up a generation of servant leaders who will not serve their own selfish interests and raid government coffers but will represent their constituents well and bring transformation and facilitate social justice in their communities and in the nation at large.

Let the sons of God arise and take the nation by the hand to guide her into her redemptive purpose!


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Date published: 11/06/2020
Pearl Kupe-Attorney & International consultant to world leaders & International organizations is International President-Global Forum for Women Entrepreneurs. Email pearl.kupe@gmail.com

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