Does the EFF have ‘a higher gender balance’ in Parliament?

Did the EFF stick to the facts in its 2019 election manifesto? We check a selection of claims.

Claim: The EFF…  “has a higher gender balance in Parliament”.

Women and girls make up 51% of the country’s population, according to Statistics South Africa’s 2018 mid-year population estimates. But the people most political parties choose to represent them in the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces don’t reflect this.

In its 2019 election manifesto, the EFF claims to have a “higher gender balance” in Parliament.

We asked the party if this means it has a higher share of women among its representatives in Parliament than other parties.

EFF national communications manager Sixolise Gcilishe didn’t respond to the question but did send us a spreadsheet. According to this, 40% – or 10 – of the EFF’s National Assembly members and 67% (4) of its National Council of Provinces members were female.

Two houses of parliament

South Africa has a bicameral parliament with two houses: the National Assembly (NA) and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).

  • National Assembly

The EFF published its election manifesto on February 2. We used the most recent list of NA members, provided by Parliament, and a list of changes in membership to work out the gender breakdown at the time the EFF released its election manifesto. The African National Congress (ANC) had a higher share of female NA representatives, at 50%, while 44% of the EFF’s NA members were female.

We compared the list provided by Parliament with information on the People’s Assembly website and Parliament’s own website. We found one female ANC member who had been excluded from the list of female members. 

  • National Council of Provinces

The EFF had the highest share of women (67%) in the NCOP when the party released its manifesto, based on a list of current members and resignations provided by NCOP chairperson Thandi Modise’s office.

But how do the numbers add up for both houses of parliament?

For the EFF, 48% of all its members of Parliament were female when the party released its manifesto. The ANC had a higher share: 49% of its members were female.

Verdict: Correct

The EFF claimed it had “a higher gender balance” in Parliament. The data shows it had a higher share of female representatives in Parliament than 11 other parties at the time it released its election manifesto. Forty-eight percent of the EFF’s members of Parliament were women, compared with 49% of the ANC’s members.

  • This fact-check was produced as part of a journalism partnership with Africa Check, the continent’s leading fact-checking organisation. The project aims to ensure that claims made by those in charge of state resources and delivering essential services are factually correct. In the run-up to this year’s national and provincial elections it will be increasingly important that voters are able to make informed decisions. This series aims to provide voters with the tools to do that. The Raith Foundation contributed to the cost of reporting. 
Fact-checking 101
We fact-check claims using the same standard for every fact check. We do not concentrate our fact-checking on any one side. We follow the same process for every fact check and let the evidence dictate our conclusions. We do not advocate or take policy positions on the issues we fact-check. First we contact the person who has made the claim and ask for the evidence. Our next step is to check publicly available sources for evidence that supports or contradicts the claim. Having secured the evidence, we discuss it with experts where necessary to help understand the data. When we write up the report we explain what we found and how we reached our conclusion. We want our readers to be able to verify our findings themselves, so we provide all sources in enough detail that readers can replicate our work. Read our principles here and more information on how we work. If you think we've got something wrong you can contact us on info@africacheck.org or tweet @AfricaCheck 

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