Political parties on Tuesday were in disagreement over whether independent candidates should be allowed to stand in more than one province to be elected in the National Assembly.
CAPE TOWN – Political parties on Tuesday were in disagreement over whether independent candidates should be allowed to stand in more than one province to be elected in the National Assembly.
This emerged when the home affairs portfolio committee deliberated the Electoral Amendment Bill, which provides for independents to stand for election in the National Assembly and provincial legislatures.
Earlier the committee heard from content adviser Salmon Adam, who said it should decide whether to allow independent candidates to contest across several regions or just for one region and nationally like political parties.
Adam said if it was agreed, it would mean that a clause on the independent candidates would be redrafted to be on par with the clause of the bill on political parties.
The clause provides that the name of the same party or candidate may appear on a list for one region and the national list of a party but may not appear on more than one regional list.
DA MP Adrian Roos said the advice given to the committee previously was that independent candidates should be able to participate in any province because the National Assembly covered all provinces.
“This is the understanding I had and we move on that basis. Independent candidates should participate in all regions as individual parties do,” he said.
Roos also said independent candidates should get a seat where they obtained the most votes and their votes in provinces should also be aggregated to get a seat.
IFP MP Liezl van der Merwe said if political parties were able to compete across the country so should independent candidates.
“I fully support that independent candidates should contest in more than one region and take a seat where they got the most votes,” she said.
Van der Merwe also said they should consider the proposal that votes obtained across regions could be turned into a PR seat.
“They should be able to contest in multiple regions and not only be restricted to one. It goes back to the very issue of inclusivity and fairness,” she said.
However, both the ANC and the EFF held a different view.
ANC MP Tidimalo Legwase said independent candidates should contest where they registered or resided.
“They should not contest in all provinces. Political parties contest because they are political parties. Being an independent means you are one. Not a single person stays in many provinces,” Legwase said.
Her colleague Moleboheng Modise insisted that independents contest where they reside and were registered. Unlike political parties that can solicit votes in more than one region.
EFF MP Lorato Tito said: “The independent must contest in one region where he or she is residing.”
ANC MP Brendon Pillay opposed the proposal for the aggregation of votes for independents.
“You can’t combine votes of all regions,” Pillay said.
Committee chairperson Mosa Chabane said they would bring together all issues that were resolved and where different views existed on matters in their next meeting.