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Elections: Results and Seats

With the final results announced officially by the IEC on Saturday, 11 May 2019, the ANC has won the sixth general election. The ANC received a little over 10 million votes. This was followed by the DA and EF. The ANC also retained its majority in all provinces except the Western Cape where it is the official opposition to the DA. The DA is the opposition once again in the Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, Free State and Gauteng, while the EFF is yet again the opposition in Limpopo and North West, while taking that role from the DA in Mpumalanga.

In the National Assembly, the African Transformation Movement (ATM), Good and Al Jama-ah are the new entrants while the African People’s Convention (APC) and Agang SA will not be returning

This election, a record number of 48 political parties contested the national ballot Parliament has 400 seats which are allocated proportionally to the parties who received the highest number of votes. In the Sixth Parliament, 14 parties will be represented

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What happens after the 2019 elections?

The Constitution spells out, in section 52, that after an election, the first sitting of the National Assembly must take place at a time and date determined by the Chief Justice but not more than 14 days after the election result has been declared

Wednesday, 22 May: things really kick off post-elections when the first sitting of the National Assembly takes place. At this sitting, the Chief Justice, or another designated Judge, will preside over the swearing-in of Members of Parliament. Groups of MPs are sworn in 10 at a time, ordered alphabetically. They will swear or affirm faithfulness to the Republic and obedience to the Constitution.

The Chief Justice will also preside over the election of the President, who will be selected from among the MPs – the President starts off as a Member of Parliament but immediately ceases to be once sworn in. The President must take up office within five days of being elected

Thereafter the Speaker will be elected by way of nomination. If more than one nomination is received for the position of Speaker, an election by secret ballot is held. Counting of the ballots is done in the presence of the Chief Justice. The results are then announced in the House.

Once the Speaker is duly elected, nominations are invited for the position of Deputy Speaker of the NA. The newly-elected Speaker presides over this election. Also attending the first sitting of the Fifth democratic Parliament will be diplomats and guests of the Presidency, guests of leaders and representatives of political parties in Parliament, and members of the public.

Throughout the process, the mace, which represents the Speaker’s authority, will remain upright in front of the National Assembly podium until the newly elected Speaker is escorted to the presiding officer’s chair by the sergeant-at-arms. When the mace is laid horizontally, it signals the official start to the new Parliament.

After an hour’s lunch break the House reconvenes (at 2pm) and the Chief Justice calls for the nomination of candidates for the position of President of the Republic of South Africa. Like the Speaker and Deputy Speaker process, if more than one nomination is made, an election by secret ballot is held. Counting of the ballots is done in the presence of the Chief Justice. The results are then announced in the House. The President, once elected, ceases to be a member of the NA.

The first sittings of the Provincial Legislatures are also provisionally scheduled for May 22. The Chief Justice will, in accordance with his constitutional prerogative, announce the appropriate date in due course. Additionally, the Chief Justice has also designated the Judges President of the divisions of the High Court to preside over the first sittings of the Provincial Legislatures. Provincial Premiers and Speakers will be elected at these sittings and the swearing in of Members of the Provincial Legislatures will also take place .

swearSource: GCIS

Thursday, 23 May: the first sitting of the NCOP will also be presided over by the Chief Justice. The Chief Justice will also preside over the election of the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, who is selected from the permanent delegates. The Chairperson will then preside over the election of the Deputy Chairperson, House Chairpersons and Chief Whip . The President will then appoint a Deputy President and Ministers to constitute his or her Cabinet – the Deputy President and Cabinet Members are selected from the Members of the National Assembly although no more than two Ministers can be appointed from outside the National Assembly

Saturday, 25 May: President Inauguration - in a departure from tradition, the event will take place at Loftus Versfeld Stadium. According to government, hosting the inauguration in a stadium, the largest in the City of Tshwane, will allow for greater public participation in this important national event. The theme of the inauguration ceremony is "Together celebrating 25 years of freedom: Renewal and Growth for a better South Africa." Aside from members of the public, it is expected that Heads of State and royalty from a number of countries will attend, as well as religious representatives, political parties, and representatives from regional, continental and international organisations and bodies such as the Southern African Development Community, the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN).

June 2019: Parliament also has two State of the Nation Addresses (SONA) during a general election year. People’s Assembly has it on good authority that the President will deliver this SONA between 4 and 14 June 2019. SONA marks the opening of the Sixth Parliament.

The sixth democratic Parliament will start to establish its committees in the weeks following the first sittings of the NA and NCOP

Parliament Debutantes: Who to Watch?

The big splash the EFF made in 2014 is unlikely to ever be topped, but the three new parties making their parliament debuts in the sixth parliament have the potential to ruffle some feathers. Themba Godi’s APC and Agang bowed out and had to make space for these debutantes. Get to know the new entrants and tell us who you expect will have the biggest impact over the next five years:

GOOD

While Patricia de Lille can hardly be described as a parliament newbie (she represented the PAC and the ID in parliament from 1994 until 2010), it is quite remarkable that a party launched just five months before an election managed to grab 2 seats in the National Assembly. After a very public and protracted spat with the DA at the tail end of 2018, Ms de Lille resigned as City of Cape Town mayor in October 2018 and launched GOOD on 2 December 2018 – signaling her intend to contest the 2019 national elections from the onset. The GOOD manifesto finds base in undoing apartheid spatial planning; job creation; ensuring social justice; and tackling climate change. She did recently say GOOD wants to ‘turn Parliament on its head’ and this coupled with a leader that has been labeled as ‘feisty’ and ‘fearless’, we can expect some fireworks from GOOD’s ‘Aunty Pat’.

ATM

The African Transformation Movement (ATM), formed a year ago with the backing of the South African Council of Messianic Churches in Christ (SACMCC), defines its ideology as “conservatism and Christian democracy”. Although its leader and president is Vuyolwethu Zungula, it has been Mzwanele Manyi, the party’s chief of policy and strategy that has become the public face of the ATM. With an impressive CV in both government and business, Manyi often dominates news headlines (think his appearance before the Zondo Commission and acquisition of the previously Gupta-owned ANN7) and social media trends. Manyi who is number 14 on the party’s list, will not occupy one of the two seats the ATM won, but we expect the ATM to make some waves in Parliament in light of its controversial policy positions: advocating for the death penalty and support for corporal punishment.

Al Jama-ah

Al Jama-ah was formed in 2007 in a mosque in Lansdowne, Cape Town. Its leader, Ganief Hendricks will take the sole parliamentary seat the party won after 12 years in politics. The party aims to support Muslim interests and uphold shariah law. Recently Hendricks told the Daily Maverick that despite wanting to add Muslim representation into South African politics, he has faced a lot of opposition from Muslim leaders. He believes that these leaders refuse to support the party because they do not want to lose favour with bigger parties. In a bold move Al Jama-ah teamed up with the Progressive Student Movement (PSM) for its 2019 election campaign. It bore fruit and Al Jama-ah joins the PAC as Parliament’s ‘one-seat parties’ and we will keep an eye on its impact over the next five years.

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Elections 2019

The hour is almost upon us – the day when South Africans embark on go to the polling stations to exercise arguably the most fundamental democratic right, that of voting. There are however many who are not entirely knowledgeable of the electoral system employed in SA – we thought it would be useful to provide a synopsis before the main event

Proportional Representation

SA makes use of a PR electoral system - South Africans cast a vote for one party and parliamentary seats are allocated in direct proportion to the number of votes a party received.

Advantages: Inclusive, simple, coalition government, representative and proportional Parliament

Disadvantages: it is said the PR system creates distances between the electorate and individual representatives as voters cast a ballot for the party and the party in turn decides which representatives make it to Parliament (as opposed to a constituency-based system where individual representatives are directly voted for)

There is no perfect system, and systems need to be considered in the context of the particular country.

Closed-list

SA makes use of a closed-list PR system. All parties registered to contest the general election submit, to the IEC, lists of individuals to occupy the seats in the nine provinces and national legislature in proportion to the number of votes the party secured in the election. The lists are "closed" in that they cannot be altered by voters – the lists are however open to public viewing https://www.pa.org.za/blog/candidate-lists-51-objections-52-overturned-iec

At the end of the electoral process, these (ranked) lists are used to fill the seats allocated to each party. The higher up on a list a party member is, the more likely that member is to get a seat.

Parliament & Seats

SA's national legislature consists of 490 seats – 400 in the National Assembly and 54 in the NCOP (The NCOP is made up of 54 permanent delegates and 36 special delegates)

For seats to the National Assembly, only the national ballot is relevant. The National Assembly seats are filled in two tiers: half (200) seats are regional seats and filled by reference to regional votes and regional lists while the other half (200) are national seats and filled by reference to national votes and national lists (or entirely from regional lists if a party did not submit a separate national list)

In order to allocate seats, the number of votes a party received is translated into a proportion of the seats in the National Assembly, first regionally and then nationally.

First, the number of votes equivalent to a single seat must be calculated. Each seat then represents a 'quota' of votes. The simplest way to do this is by dividing the total number of votes by the total number of seats (i.e. votes/seats). In South Africa we use a version of the Droop Quota method. For regional seats the quota is determined, for each region, by the total number of votes in that region and the total number of seats in that region. For the national seats, the quota is determined by the total number of votes in the country and the total number of national seats.

Seats are allocated proportionally – the number of seats allocated to a party depends on how many times the party meets a full quota. This is calculated by dividing each party's share of the vote, regionally and then nationally, by the quotas determined at those levels. During this process the remainders are set aside. If, after this process, there are unallocated seats, the remaining seats are allocated to the parties who have the largest remainder. And so the 400 seats for the National Assembly are filled .

This is quite complicated but should you be interested in reading more, see here: http://www.electionresources.org/za/system/

Prof Pierre de Vos writes that a party needs about 40 000 to 45 000 votes for every seat allocated in the NA although the complicated formula used to calculate the seats provides a slight advantage to very small parties vying for only one seat. Such a party may get that one seat with as little as 30 000 to 35 000 votes. Elections follow a five-year cycle, with national and provincial elections held simultaneously and municipal elections held two years later. On Wednesday, voters will receive two ballot papers – national and provincial.

Talk of coalition government has been bandied about in the run up to the elections – read more about these intricacies here: https://constitutionallyspeaking.co.za/what-happens-after-the-election-results-are-announced/

After the election

The Constitution spells out, in section 52, that after an election, the first sitting of the National Assembly must take place at a time and date determined by the Chief Justice but not more than 14 days after the election result has been declared – the provisional day set out for this is Wednesday, 22 May 2019

At this first sitting, the National Assembly will also elect its Speaker and a woman or man from among its Members to be the President – the Chief Justice, or another designated Judge, presides over the election of the President and Speaker The election of the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and President must be done via a secret ballot, and a candidate only wins if he or she obtains more than an absolute majority of the votes cast.

The President will then appoint a Deputy President and Ministers to constitute his or her Cabinet – the Deputy President and Cabinet Members are selected from the Members of the National Assembly although no more than two Ministers can be appointed from outside the National Assembly

The President will be inaugurated on Saturday, 25 May 2019. In a departure from the tradition the event will take place at Loftus Versfeld Stadium. According to government, hosting the inauguration in a stadium, the largest in the City of Tshwane, will allow for greater public participation in this important national event. The theme of the inauguration ceremony is "Together celebrating 25 years of freedom: Renewal and Growth for a better South Africa." Aside from members of the public, it is expected that Heads of State and royalty from a number of countries will attend, as well as religious representatives, political parties, and representatives from regional, continental and international organisations and bodies such as the Southern African Development Community, the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN).

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Review of Fifth Parliament

The Fifth Parliament gave us a lot of “firsts” and was unprecedented in many ways.

While previous Parliaments were maligned for being dull, perfunctory and peripheral, this Parliament was in the limelight for various controversies and mayhem.

Putting together a comprehensive review of the Fifth Parliament was always going to be a difficult task and there will be gaps in the coverage of its myriad components.

Combining commentary and data, this review is a guide and analysis to the legislature’s activities, highlights and controversies from this period. In addition, there are perspectives on the functioning of Parliament, with the aim of raising standards. Alongside this are interviews with lawmakers, who share their insights. The result is a varied and, we believe, instructive publication where we aim to be forward-looking and address how Parliament can be strengthened.

PMG is non-partisan and has no stance on the opinion pieces published. Our contributors had complete freedom to express their views.

We would like to thank our contributors for their participation. Without them, this would not be possible. Every effort was made to get input from across the spectrum. While many responded to the invitation, not everyone took up the opportunity.

Parliament is a vital institution. We hope this will contribute to the broader debate about its role, stature and the impact it should have on all South Africans.

Read the review here: PMG's 5th Parliament Review

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Bridging the Gap between MPs and constituents

The People’s Assembly website (www.pa.org.za) was launched in 2014 with a clear mandate: ‘connecting people with their representatives’. We have not stopped working towards developing and adding civic technology tools to that enhances that mandate. Little over a year ago we launched the ‘Write to an MP’ tool. It serves as an interactive tool that both increases ease of access to MPs, as well as provide MPs with the opportunity to interact with the public.

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This is how it works:

  • Members of the public can send a public message to any Member of the National Assembly
  • Messages are moderated to exclude offensive language and personal information
  • Messages sensitive in nature are sent in private and responses will also be in private

We consciously decided not to promote the tool to get a clear idea of its usefulness; whether the public will understand how to use it; and also to assess the responses by MPs. The response has been great and the stats so far show:

pa2*Responses only visible on public messages

We would like MPs to make use of this tool to increase their visibility and accessibility by responding to the messages of support, queries and questions from the public. Unfortunately the response rate so far has been dismal despite sending emails to MPs mid 2018 to explain how it works.

Most of the messages relate to some element of service delivery such as home affairs queries, police cases/treatment, higher education funding queries, unfair labour practices, etc. MPs would rarely be able to solve the queries, but they can elevate it to the relevant departments and the weight of that referral will most probably lead to faster resolutions with greater accountability from government officials. See examples below:

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We have also noted that the majority of messages are sent to ministers, their deputies and EFF MPs – probably because of the visibility of the ministries and the reputation the EFF has built by intervening in much publicised labour-related cases. While many responses are automated responses, there have been those that consistently respond and follow up:

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It provides a great opportunity for members of parliament, including the executive, to connect with the public; demonstrate the ability to resolve issues; and an opportunity to clarify government programmes and policies. For the fifth parliament, the public has been following debates in the House more closely; as well as riveting inquiries such as those into the SABC, Eskom and currently, State Capture. Citizens will often affirm position MPs take on certain issues and this tool can really serve as a barometer of constituents’ mindset.

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In a few weeks South Africans will go to the polls to vote and a few weeks after that we will get our first look at the sixth parliament that will be made up of returning members and those who will be sworn in as MPs for the very first time. For both groups, we want to urge members to use this forum to set a tone of responsiveness and accountability.

Infographic: The Voting Process

Only a few more weeks until Election Day (8 May)! To all first-time voters who are daunted by the notion of voting, People's Assembly has created a visual representation of the voting process. It's really as simple as it looks. Happy voting!

Infographic

Candidate lists: 51 objections of 52 overturned – IEC

South Africans had a four-day window to object to a candidate on the lists of the 48 political parties contesting the 8 May elections. The party lists are available on the IEC website.

The Constitution states that every voter is eligible to be a Member of Parliament except:

  • unrehabilitated insolvents

  • declared to be of unsound mind by a court

  • sentenced to more than 12 months imprisonment without a fine option, but only after an appeal, and this disqualification ends five years after the sentence is completed.

The Commission considered and made determinations on all objections and notified the objectors and affected parties of their finding by 8 April 2019. Any party, candidate or objector aggrieved by the decision of the Commission then had until 11 April 2019 to appeal to the Electoral Court.

This election year the IEC confirmed it had received objections to the nominations of 52 candidates (45 in 2014) for parliament and provincial legislatures affecting nine political parties. Of those 52 objections, 29 candidates are on the ANC candidate list. Other objections included 19 against candidates representing the BLF, 13 against candidates representing the EFF, 4 each against candidates representing the DA and Land Party, and 1 each against candidates representing the ACDP, AIC, ACM and ATA.

Only one of the objections were upheld - by the PAC against its own candidate, Seropane Alton Mphethi. According to the IEC, he was sentenced on 7 June 2016 to 18 months’ imprisonment without the option of a fine. This disqualifies him from holding elected office.

The Commission dismissed all other objections for failing to meet the constitutional and statutory criteria and said 'the majority of these objections related to unproven allegations'.

47% drop in registered 18 and 19-year-olds for 2019 elections

With its Xsê campaign and other marketing strategies, the IEC went all out to encourage young voters to register. It partnered with digital news publications (News24 is an example) and ran a competition for matriculants which included asking them to indicate if they wanted to register to vote. IEC representatives visited young people house to house in villages such as Arniston to allow them to register. Voter registration drives were also held on campuses for students. However, the data shows these efforts were not enough. There is a 47% drop in registered 18 and 19-year-olds for the 2019 elections compared to the 2014 elections:

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This has serious implications for our 25-year-old democracy. Are young people disillusioned or simply apathetic?

Ebrahim Fakir, elections expert, suggests that there is a growing tendency for younger people globally to participate less in formal political processes than older cohorts . This doesn’t necessarily mean they are agnostic, disengaged or apathetic, it simply means that they express themselves politically in other ways, such as direct action, protests, cultural form(s) and so on".

This 47% drop was not mentioned in the IEC report to the Home Affairs Portfolio Committee which is a concern as this prevents Parliament from performing effective oversight.

Judith February, author of Turning and Turning: Exploring the Complexities of South Africa's Democracy, comments: 'It does seem curious that the IEC did not advise Parliament on this big drop in the 18-19 year old registration category. It is incumbent on the IEC to point this sort of significant information to Parliament as the representative of the people'.

However, the alarm bell has rung for the IEC. Granville Abrahams, IEC Senior Manager Electoral Matters is upbeat about the role that technology can play in beating this huge drop. He explains that the Commission had aimed to replace registration hardware and software applications ahead of the 2019 elections but procurement challenges had not made this possible. This would have enabled rising above the challenge of the current registration process which requires locating an applicant on a physical map then using a barcode associated with that map to register an applicant in the voting district where the applicant is "ordinarily resident". The "ordinarily resident" principle underlying the SA voters roll is key as it directly impacts on the freeness and fairness of an election. The IEC focus is on technology to replace the need for a physical map and barcodes thus allowing the voters roll to be updated remotely and immediately. In late February 2019, a two-week pilot of such a web based application proved highly successful.

The success of this pilot paves the way for greater interaction with schools where the IEC is already active with democracy education but up to now has been unable to register these “captive audiences” where a classroom of learners is eager to register there and then. Granville Abrahams concludes : This technology is promising for future registration of the youth and is bound to make an impact. It will allow for a more direct approach as opposed to indirect approaches through marketing".

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