Questions & Answers
Q1 How does a prospective independent candidate apply?
A1 Each specific submission must complete an application form that can be found on our website at independents.osa.org.za. Each application must include a list of signatures of voters – registered to vote in the specific ward – that support the particular candidate.
In addition, applicants must answer the following questions:
1) What ward and what municipality will be contested?
2) What is the name and surname of the proposed independent candidate?
3) Why would this candidate be the best person to represent the ward as its councillor?
4) What is the independent candidate’s campaign plan?
5) What are the organisations or community groupings present in the ward that OSA could partner with in support of the independent candidate?
Submissions close on 1 March 2021.
Q2 What qualifications or level of training and experience does a candidate need to apply?
A2 Part of OSA’s core offer is building by equipping individuals to become statesmen and stateswomen. Once selected, candidates will be trained in our School of Governance on how to be effective and accountable councillors who add serve their communities and add real value.
Therefore, candidates must be recognizable leaders in their community, have evidence of potential support, espouse ethical leadership and be held in high esteem by members of their community.
Q3 What will OSA offer a successful applicant?
A3 OSA will endorse these candidates and support them by equipping them with an enabling infrastructure, campaigning, training and access to tools that will help them win their respective elections. We have already built a force of activists on the ground, who are engaging citizens on a day-to-day basis, and we have a strong digital and media platform. Our objective is to help South Africans use their constitutional power to bring accountability. Once selected, candidates will be trained in our School of Governance on how to be effective and accountable statesmen and stateswomen.
Q4 Why do prospective independents require OSA to run for election?
A4 Independent candidates have run and been elected in previous local government elections. However, the success rate of being elected has been low. This is due in part to a lack of resources, training, campaign support and capacity building. Therefore, OSA’s approach is brand new – an umbrella body that assists candidates and gives them a unique offering in order to win their election.
Q5 Will OSA back every single independent candidate?
A5 OSA supports the concept of independent candidates. However, we will not be in a position to provide blanket support to independents across the country. That is why we will begin a process to identify the independent candidates and communities which we will support.
Q6 Who will fund these candidates?
A6 While OSA will provide guidance and training on fundraising, candidates will be required to source their own funding for their campaign. We will encourage candidates to approach businesses, organisations and individuals within their communities.
Q7 If elected, what do independent candidates offer that is different to candidates from political parties?
A7 Political parties select candidates and impose those candidates on communities. Those candidates are loyal to political parties first, above citizens. Whereas independents are loyal to the people who elect them. There is no middle man. Electing people who are not dictated to by any political party will strengthen accountability, bring decision-making closer to the people and guarantee the best, fit for purpose individuals represent us in government.
Q8 How will independent candidates be held accountable following their election?
A8 We want to put an end to trickle down democracy and replace it with direct democracy. Community members know their candidate, where they live and can hold this person to account for their actions in government. There will be no political party machinery to hide behind. This cuts out the middle man between the people and their councillors in government.
Q9 Won’t electing independent candidates split/dilute the opposition vote?
A9 The people of South Africa desperately want an alternative and are rejecting the status quo. This is clearly evidenced by the fact that with each passing election, fewer South Africans chose not to exercise their constitutional right to vote. In the last national election, 19.7 million eligible voters chose not to vote as the current party-political system does not represent them.
Independent candidates can appeal to new voters who have tapped out of the system.
Q10 Can apply more than one OSA candidate in a ward?
Q11 What about the PR vote that independent candidates will lose?
A11 OSA is not a political party and will not be on the PR ballot. We are working with residents associations and other organisations to register under section 15A of the Electoral Act in order to capture the PR vote
Q12 Is there any possibility that independent candidates could become part of coalition governments?
A12 Yes, there is. There are many municipalities across South Africa where no single political party holds the majority. This presents an opportunity for independent candidates to help form governments.
Q13 How exactly will OSA measure community support for candidates?
A13 By signatures of support for a candidate and formal endorsements from community organisations.
Q14 Will OSA be working with any other organisations in supporting independent candidates?
A14 Yes, OSA will be partnering with our affiliate organizations, as well as NGOs, community forums, ratepayers’ associations and other community-led groupings to identify, train and equip leaders. This is a bottom-up approach to governance, instead of a top-down approach used by political parties
Q15 Given the COVID-19 situation, do the signatures have to be physical?
A15 Electronic signatures will suffice. However, please note that signatures will be verified and supporters randomly phoned to confirm support for the relevant candidate.
Q16 How many signatures do I need to apply?
A16 There is no specific minimum or maximum number of signatures required. However, the more signatures an independent candidate has, the higher their application score is likely to be. A core component of an individual’s viability as an independent candidate is the public support they can demonstrate in the ward. It is for this reason that One South Africa’s assessment of each application will give a significant weighting to the amount of signatures received.
Q17 What do you mean by ‘community organisations’?
A17 Any organisations that have been formed by citizens in your ward regarding service delivery issues. An example could be a neighbourhood watch grouping or a ratepayer’s association.
Q18 What is the difference between a independent candidate and a political candidate?
A18 An independent candidate does not represent a political party. The stand in their personal community and as such, will be directly accountable to the community that votes for them. A political party candidate will be selected by the relevant political party to stand in the ward and therefore will be accountable to the political party first before the community.