On 30 June 2020, the Centre for Human Rights hosted a webinar onon elections in South Africa and whether individual candidacy will change the game.  In June 2020, South Africa’s Constitutional Court ruled the electoral act unconstitutional, for failing to permit individuals to run for a seat in the national or provincial legislatures. No doubt, the Court’s ruling will have significant implications for South African politics – especially for the upcoming national elections slated for 2024. For individuals who have been left outside of party politics, the Constitutional Court’s new ruling represents an opportunity to re-engage with the system, launch an election campaign of their own, and vie for a seat in the legislature. For voters, apathetic ones especially, the court’s ruling will expand the pool of candidates offering them more choices at the ballot box. 

To explore these issues, the Democracy and Civic Engagement Unit (DCE), Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria hosted a webinar on 30 June 2020. The panelists considered the constitutional principle of separation of powers, and how judiciaries across Africa are exerting greater influence on the political process. The discussion explored how the new judgment could increase the impact of donors on South African elections, and how individuals and special interest groups could seize the process to better influence politics in the country. Most importantly, the group dealt with the hegemony in party internal nominating structures, and asked whether this will could loosen their grip on the overall electoral process. 

Theme: Elections in South Africa: Will individual candidacy change the game?

Moderator: Thomas White
Research Assistant: Democracy and Civic Engagement Unit
Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria


  • Dr Sithembile Mbete
    University of Pretoria
  • Mr Bulelani Mkhohliswa
    New Nation Movement
  • Prof Ivor Sarakinsky
    Wits Graduate School of Governance
  • Ms Olufunto Akinduro
    International IDEA

Objective of the webinar

To examine whether the Constitutional Court’s judgment would ‘change the game’ in South African politics, and create a more robust, representative legislature at the national and provincial levels. 

The discussion included: 

  • Judicial activism and claims of judicial overreach
  • The pros and cons of the party-list system
  • The long term effects individual candidacy will have on the political economy

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