The party launched its election manifesto in Soweto last week.

A week after unveiling its election manifesto, the latest political kid on the block, Change Starts Now (CSN), has confirmed it will no longer be contesting the upcoming elections.

On Thursday, CSN, led by former government official Roger Jardine, announced its decision to withdraw from participating in this year’s national and provincial elections.

Signature requirement – CSN

The party, which was launched almost three months ago, cited a recent Constitutional Court (ConCourt) ruling as part of the reason for this decision.

This related to signature quota required by the Electoral Amendment Act.

According to the Act, independent candidates and political parties need to submit to the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) a list with names, identity numbers, and signatures of registered voters to meet the eligibility criteria for contesting in the elections.

Before the ConCourt ruling, they needed to secure signatures equivalent to 15% of the votes necessary to attain a parliamentary seat in the preceding elections.

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However, only 1 000 signatures were required after the apex court ordered that this provision of the Electoral Amendment Act be amended.

Although the CSN’s registration with the IEC was long concluded, the party was in a quest to gather signatures before the 8 March deadline set by the commission in its election timetable.

In a statement on Thursday, Jardine said while CSN has established a “significant national following in a short time”, the ConCourt judgment “imposed barriers” on newly established political parties.

“[This] means CSN, like several other parties, faces a prejudicial, logistical timetable [challenge] to qualify for the ballot,” he explained.

‘People are abandoning the ANC’

Jardine said while CSN will not be on the ballot, it was willing to back parties who share the same values.

“We have therefore taken a decision that, while we believe it is essential to give voters as much encouragement to vote by providing them with a range of options, in the interests of increasing the chances of political change, we will offer support to political parties who share our values and the aspirations we believe voters are looking for,” the statement further reads.

READ MORE: Corporate money vs. political reality: Dissecting the failures of CSN

“Our research and our engagements with South Africans tells us while people are abandoning the ANC, a lot of political work is needed to unite South Africans behind a shared vision for the future of our country.

“Therefore, CSN will continue to work on, champion and advocate the ideas in our change charter.

“We call on all South Africans to participate in the democratic process and to vote in these pivotal elections.”

CSN manifesto

CSN launched its election manifesto in Kliptown, Soweto on 19 February.

Among others things, the party promised to make significant increases in social and welfare grants, decentralise crime-fighting to improve safety, professionalise the public service and promote renewable energy.

The party also pledged to create a fund dedicated to empowering individuals and communities while sparking job-driven economic growth.


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