DA moves to change electoral system

2013-03-04 15:35

Cape Town - DA MP James Selfe will table a private members' bill in Parliament on Monday proposing changes to South Africa's electoral system.

Through the draft electoral reform bill, the Democratic Alliance sought to "re-introduce a constituency system for the National Assembly".

Currently, the 400 seats in the National Assembly are allocated according to the exact number of votes obtained by political parties in general elections.

MPs are elected from ranked national lists provided by parties to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

Selfe told journalists at Parliament the current system had many advantages and was largely immune to manipulation.

But, the system's greatest weakness was a lack of accountability by MPs to the voters who elected them.

In many instances voters did not know who the MPs allocated to their constituencies were.

"This tends to lead to alienation and cynicism along with relatively low levels of [political] participation... There's a gradual downward trend as less and less people get out to vote," said Selfe.

He suggested a direct link between single MPs and their constituents, similar to the system used in the United Kingdom and in pre-democratic South Africa.

But, this should be done within the confines of the Constitution, which insisted on proportional representation.

"Accordingly, we would need to have a mixed system of constituencies and lists to guarantee proportionality to get that constitutional prescription adhered to."

The bill proposed 100 constituencies around the country, each to be represented by three MPs.

MPs would be elected by proportional representation, filling 300 of the National Assembly's 400 seats.

In practical terms, political parties would submit a ranked list of five names to the IEC for inclusion in the constituency contest.

"These names and the logo of the party would appear on the ballot paper for that constituency, but voters would still vote for a party."

The DA said voters would have the advantage of seeing the individual who would represent their interests in the National Assembly.

A second ballot paper would contain only the list of parties contesting the election.

Based on the outcome of this, the electoral commission would allocate 100 seats to MPs from parties' national lists.

  • Ronald Stilianou - 2013-03-04 15:42

    great idea

      Poloyatonki - 2013-03-04 16:02

      Forget it, if you want UK system why dont you move to the UK.

      annman - 2013-03-04 16:10

      Poloyatonki doesn't know what he's against. He just knows the DA proposed it and it's used in the UK, so he's opposed to it on principal of origin, not if it'll actually improve governance or not.

      Tums Down - 2013-03-04 16:11

      Yes its a great idea. But more importantly, will the ANC agree.. I don't think so .. In which case the idea goes no where..

      tsepo.mdlalose - 2013-03-04 16:11

      @Poloyatonki. Because we want that great system to work here.. for us

      infijar.ken - 2013-03-04 16:19

      @Poloyatonki - who said anything like the UK system? How about the Zimbabwean system. For all their faults, their system is more democratic than this failed deployment mess!

      John - 2013-03-04 16:22

      no one is getting a no cANCer wont go with it!!!

      Charles-Bronson Bronson - 2013-03-04 16:39

      Poloyatonki another ANC thief supporting thief's!!

      Vaughan - 2013-03-04 16:49

      @Poloyatonki, you make me laugh. It's pretty much like saying if you want democracy move to Greece.

      rodney.bevan.58 - 2013-03-04 17:37

      Infijar, read the article again, it states " similar to the system used in the United Kingdom and in pre-democratic South Africa." That's why donkey posted what he did. I reckon donkey is a ranking member of the ANC because anything that might signal a change for the good, he jumps on immediately. Either that, or he really is just plain knuckle draggingingly stupid and a troll to boot.

      TrueBlue - 2013-03-04 19:59

      Poloyatonki, It's not about the UK system. It's about bringing government closer to the people, and what way is better when a parliamentarian has to go out among the people who voted them into the position and explain to them why their schools have no teachers, their clinics and hospitals have no nurses or doctors and why things aren't working. It will make sure that politicians actually do work and it will put off the lazy and the unfit, which is very much what we have now. Just look at the Eastern Cape!

      kent.paulsen.79 - 2013-03-05 08:24

      @ Poloyatonki. I have no words for you. ???!!???

  • Darren Denver Jeftha - 2013-03-04 15:46

    This is definitely a LOL moment from the DA, "He suggested a direct link between single MPs and their constituents, similar to the system used in the United Kingdom and in pre-democratic South Africa". He means unde the apartheid government, I though they trying to distance themselves from associations of that nature.

      Michael James - 2013-03-04 15:52

      This is how it works with the local government system. One can contact and hold your local councillor accountable for his actions. Parliament should be no different

      Stephen Saxeus - 2013-03-04 16:02

      Seriously, don't be daft. The different types of democracy are just tools for electing representatives. How a regime uses or abuses the strengths and weaknesses of each is a different subject altogether.

      annman - 2013-03-04 16:14

      @Darren: Therefore but that inference that absolutely any legislation (democratic or not) used by the Apartheid government is bad. I trust you are also vehemently against the Nkandla usage of the National Keypoints Act, the SAPS usage of Group Gatherings Act in Marikana, the Media Affairs Tribunal and the Protection of State Information Act?

      Samuel Pienaar - 2013-03-04 16:23

      @Darren Your logic is that because it was used in the Apartheid area is had to be bad? Goodness me what has this country come to when we have people that think like that. If a certain system works well and will have a positive impact lets use it regardless of its origin or who used it.

      Vaughan - 2013-03-04 17:02

      There is a "similarity" between the system. Bit different to the ANC which uses every trick in the Apartheid government's book from National Key Points to cover up Ntlanta to the Minister's handbook to try justify excessive spending. To blaming the previous regime, ANC blames Apartheid, Nats blamed the British. But then again the ANC did merge witht the party that invented Apartheid...

  • georg.potgieter - 2013-03-04 15:46

    Sounds like a lead kite to me. The ANC does not even understand democracy, can't see them buying into this complicated system.

      jeffery.stokes - 2013-03-04 20:55

      hahahahahaha. i call bull crap. DA wants pictures on the ballot so that they can do some window dressing with a few black and coloured faces next to their logo. They doing it in stellenbosch with the people they are hiring ;) nice spin job though....LOL

  • Alexandra J. Little - 2013-03-04 15:47

    Okay so now we agree on the voting thing, the DA, COPE and Agang are not joining forces because?

  • Ron Wale - 2013-03-04 15:53

    I disagree with the proposal - we should have DIRECT representation, not PROPORTIONAL. We, the constituents, should NOMINATE and ELECT our own representatives in Parliament, irrespective of party affiliation, etc. This is DEMOCRACY - the current system supports PARTY POLITICS and serves the interests of the Party - not the People!

      Sasha D - 2013-03-04 16:05

      By that do you mean that each candidate should run as an independent? Yeah can't see that happening anytime soon. Nice thought though.

  • dkh.khuzwayo - 2013-03-04 15:53

    This is a great idea indeed DA! But I am of the view that the constituency based system will disadvantage many minorities in SA as the ANC will surely design a system that will favour its voting fodder. Rather let's use the constituency system to elect our President and Premiers directly. I still favour proportional representation. Perhaps I could be wrong?

      Sasha D - 2013-03-04 16:22

      They want to incorporate elements of both proportional representation and constituency based systems into one. In the same vein as what Van Zyl Slabbert Commission suggested in its report.

  • Sasha D - 2013-03-04 15:55

    I think this would be a fantastic development for South African democracy. Just hope it happens sooner rather than later.

      Sasha D - 2013-03-04 16:00

      And would the three MPs representing each constituency actually have to BE FROM THAT CONSTITUENCY??? One would hope so.

  • SaintBruce Bruce - 2013-03-04 16:00

    Sounds a better way than what we have now. We need to know and to hold to account the specific person appointed to represent us in Parliament. Right now there is no pressure to perform as they remain anonymous to the population. It is only the Portfolio Cabinet Ministers who are in the public eye, the Premiers and a few prominent Mayors. The rest fly well under the radar - so well that they don't seem to be missed from their seats in parliament when it is in session!

  • James Otter - 2013-03-04 16:02

    We should vote for the candidate we want to represent us as our MP. A good candidate can win a seat from a not so good candidate regardless of the party.

      Sasha D - 2013-03-04 16:17

      Each MP should be accountable to us the constituents/voters not their party as is currently the case. If he/she under performs/misbehaves then WE should be able to sack them effectively immediately. At the moment at worst they get suspended with full pay for months after the incident and then relocated elsewhere. How is that DEALING WITH THE PROBLEM?!!!

  • Justin - 2013-03-04 16:11

    You will still have 300 misfits, whatever system you come up with

  • Stephen Saxeus - 2013-03-04 16:15

    Hmm. I'm not entirely convinced this would have much of an impact on anything. Our nanny state is already well entrenched, so having an MP's that are 'more connected' to their constituencies is a bit of moot point - they are still effectively charismatic bidders at a public popularity auction. I hope the bill at least stipulates some kind of performance level agreement and what penalties there should be if it is broken.

  • Xolani Mthethwa - 2013-03-04 16:28

    Sounds like a preemption of the tone adopted by Agangsa....

  • Brutus Brave - 2013-03-04 16:43

    So there are actually men in the DA, who would have thought. LOL. I personally think the problem is not the electoral system but the DA as a brand. The DA comes across like an airy-fairy, delusional gay parade led by a circus act consisting of a short white woman called Helen Zille and a chubby black girl called Lindiwe Mazibuko who no doubt have to whore themselves to the likes of the Gupta's to ensure the party's survival while the men in the DA are busy trying to grow a pair. The DA flag looks like the opening sequence of the Gummy Bears for crying out loud and that blue will always be reminiscent of the old regime. Like its leadership, DA followers are not much better either. Most are nothing more than flea-infested, Internet trolls who log on to News24 foaming in the mouth eager and ever-so-willing to spew more venom than solutions about South Africa or the ruling party. I would sooner vote for the AWB than the DA .The DA is Comedy Central on steroids. LMAO.

      Sasha D - 2013-03-04 17:16

      Says you with a Facebook account, which was only set up last Friday and by the looks of it purely to spread pro-ANC and anti-DA vibes on News24. LOL!

      Pusho C. Maake - 2013-03-04 17:38

      spew venom than solutions. I'm with you on that one as they don't add value in anyway

      Yanga Maroloma - 2013-03-04 18:24

      Hahahahahhahahahahahahahaha!!! Yhooooooooooooooooo!!! Tjoooooooooooo!!! (Again) hahahahahahahahahahaha!

      Mabhesha'nkone ZoSuthu - 2013-03-04 21:24

      Wow. I consider the DA totally useless, but I never saw this type of comment coming. Wow, dude.

      Poloyatonki - 2013-03-05 08:19

      "chubby black girl" hahahaha ahahahaha ahahahaha

  • Andre Thomas - 2013-03-04 16:46

    I think most of the older adults in SA including myself needs to be tawt how to participate in a democracy, we complain complain but da fact is beyond da tv I don't even bother to know who governs in my local area

  • Vumani Langa - 2013-03-04 17:02

    Am jst seeking clarity on wat is he refering to by ' pre-democratic SA gov.

      Sasha D - 2013-03-04 17:21

      Pre-democratic South Africa refers to Apartheid under the Nats.

  • Nizole Middle-Finger Khala - 2013-03-04 17:34

    I think that is an impossible dream because the ruling party is still holding pens at the bottom of any agreement!

  • Thabani Mthethwa Alfred - 2013-03-04 17:48

    Lol..I hope he wins this one because it will take us back to black n white race votes... He is trying to be smart bt it will backfire..

  • Thabang Tsitsi - 2013-03-04 17:50

    More like DA.

  • Yandisa Rwaai - 2013-03-04 18:02

    Lol!! Is DA not tired of being the laughing stock??

      Mabhesha'nkone ZoSuthu - 2013-03-04 21:20

      They thrive in it. They are a circus. One day we will have an opposition we can all the proud of.

  • Mabhesha'nkone ZoSuthu - 2013-03-04 18:48

    Poor DA. Now that they've accepted they can't win the mandate of the voters, they want to change the electoral system. Gerrymandering! How pathetic!

  • izan.botes.7 - 2013-03-04 20:46

    all that most of you took away from this article was pre-democratic south Africa. It was put un there to manipulate you. what is so wrong about putting a face to the person representing you.

  • Xaviesta McCowzen - 2013-03-05 03:29

    This won't help a thing. I mean, can you as a citizen have direct communication with this MP? Is he not to employ "sub-MPs" to take charge of "sub-constituencies" within that constituency, in that case aren't they to serve exactly like our local councilors? Fact of the matter is, you'll still be voting for a party, the DA will win most of the constituencies in the western cape and the ANC the rest of the country, which in turn means you still have an ANC president and Zille dissing the ANC. What keeps people from knowing who represents them once they are in government?

  • Lynne Barker - 2013-03-05 05:09

    Excellent idea!

  • Simone Bastiaanse - 2013-03-05 06:11

    All the world's a stage and the people in it merely actors!!!! That is how I view our politicians. Would be nice to have a political leader that we can look up to and trust.

  • Spats Domingo - 2013-03-05 06:48

    Great idea but the ANC will not go for it because now the voter will see the name and mugshot of the individual who would not represent their interests in the National Assembly. It will also expose the lack of accountability by MPs to the voters who elected them and that the ANC does not want made public. It will tarnish their image guys!

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