The Constitutional Court has ruled that people intending to stand as independents ahead of next year’s national and provincial elections will only need 1 000 signatures to register as candidates.

The Electoral Amendment Act initially said that to stand as an independent, a candidate would  need to obtain signatures equivalent to 15% of the votes required to win a seat in the previous election in the province for which they intended to register for the coming elections. In some provinces, this could mean people would need to secure the signatures of up to 14 000 people: a very onerous undertaking for individuals without a political party’s organisational machinery behind them.

However, the Court dismissed another challenge brought against the Electoral Amendment Act. As it is now, independent candidates can only stand for 200 of the 400 parliamentary seats, meaning that they need to effectively win more votes to gain a seat than a political party does. The Court dismissed these concerns.

A challenge had also been brought against the complex way seats will be reallocated should a vacancy occur. This was also dismissed by the Court.

The Constitutional Court ruled in 2020 that independent candidates should be allowed to stand in national and provincial elections. Up until then, they could only stand in municipal elections.