The year 2024 is an important year for South Africa, as it will witness the national elections that are expected to be a turning point for the country's political landscape. According to Thorne (2023), an analyst, these elections are crucial as the country has been grappling with a struggling economy, social unrest, load-shedding issues, and inequality, among other challenges. The stakes remain high for the upcoming elections, which will be contested by several political parties, including newly formed ones that have registered with the Independent Electoral Commission.

The electoral process has undergone amendments to allow independent candidates to participate, which is expected to make the elections more competitive and uncertain than they have been since 1994. The political environment in the country is highly volatile, with various socio-economic issues affecting the citizens at large. South Africa has been named the 'Protest Capital of the World' due to the high number of protests that occur yearly, demonstrating civilians' frustrations with the failures in political and economic systems (SABC, 2023).

The country's slow economic growth rate, coupled with consistent challenges with unemployment and poverty reduction, has added to the complexity of the upcoming elections. Consequently, the elections are expected to play a significant role in shaping the future of the nation and determining the direction that the country takes in addressing these challenges.

With the amendment of the Electoral Act, the political arena in the country is set to witness a significant transformation. In the year 2020, the constitutional court of South Africa declared that the Electoral Act was unconstitutional as it did not allow independent candidates to participate in national and provincial elections. This led to the amendment of the act, and the Electoral Amendment Act, 1 of 2023 was signed into law in 2023. This amendment has been viewed as a significant milestone in South Africa's democratic journey, as it provides a level playing field for all candidates to contest elections. The inclusion of independent candidates in the electoral process is expected to bring a fresh perspective to the political discourse in the country.

However, given the current political scenario in South Africa, it would be challenging for independent candidates to rise to power as there are already many big and established political parties in the country. At the time of writing this (18th January 2024), big political parties have more resources and experience than independent candidates, which could make it difficult for independent candidates to make a mark in the upcoming general elections, which will be the first time that independent candidates are allowed to run.

The inclusion of independent candidates in the electoral process is expected to enhance the quality of democracy in the country. The upcoming elections are expected to be highly contested, with various political parties and independent candidates vying for power. The inclusion of independent candidates in the electoral process is expected to make the elections more unpredictable, as independent candidates may garner significant support from voters dissatisfied with the established political parties. However, it remains to be seen how successful independent candidates will be in the upcoming elections, given the challenges they face in terms of resources and experience.

It is important to note that the electoral reform process is not over, as the arena of politics is not fixed/constant. It is forever changing and adapting. The inclusion of independent candidates in the electoral process is just the first step towards greater inclusivity and transparency in the electoral process. It is hoped that this amendment will lead to further reforms in the future, which will enhance the quality of democracy in the country.


Thorne, S. 2023. What would happen to the ANC, DA and EFF if elections were held tomorrow.
SABC. 2023. SAS on going protest phenomenon reflects failures in political systems.