EDITORIAL | It was parties before voters, but now the party’s over
We can only hope it will become more difficult for powerful groups to capture the state’s legislative arm
Wednesday’s Constitutional Court ruling allowing for independent candidates to run for elections to provincial legislatures and the National Assembly is a welcome game-changer. Given years of public complaints about our country’s electoral system, which makes public representatives more accountable to the political parties than to the electorate, at least voters will soon be able to vote for individuals who can be directly accountable to their constituencies.
The ruling paves the way for a hybrid model, something that many have been calling since the mid-1990s. While the party system made a lot of sense during the time when SA was making its transition to democracy, we have had enough time over the years to realise that the system had major flaws. It made it easy, for instance, for those with ill intentions to capture parliament and make the House unable to perform its task of holding the executive accountable. This they did by seizing control of the levers of power in the ruling party, which in turn controlled the majority of parliamentarians in the national assembly.
With more independents in the House, we can only hope it will become more difficult for influential families and powerful groups to capture the legislative arm of government...