Lawyers acting on behalf of the New Nation Movement (NNM) have asked the Constitutional Court to put on the back burner next week’s general elections or allow for an independent candidate to contest the polls, just six days before the May 8 vote.
“What are you seeking the court to order today?” Judge Johan Froneman asked the NNM’s legal team.
“Make an order that the Electoral Act is unconstitutional. This includes the need for the election to be postponed (it will fall in your power to do that),” advocate Allen Nelson (SC) told the court in an urgent application on Thursday.
This comes after the applicants approached the Western Cape High Court on September 17, 2018, seeking an order declaring the Electoral Act unconstitutional as it prevents individual candidates from running for seats in Parliament or provincial legislatures.
The application was dismissed by the High Court, ruling there was nothing stopping the candidates from exercising their rights by joining or forming a political party.
In March, the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) argued before the High Court that the NNM’s push was “extraordinary attempt to imperil the elections”.
The urgent application comes just six days before over 26 million registered South African voters are expected to head to the polls.
The NNM argues that if the case isn’t heard urgently on Thursday, and the polls proceed, the elections could be “invalidated when the case is heard later”.
The matter has been postponed to August 15, 2019 as the appellants in the matter failed to prove that the matter should be heard on an urgent basis.