THE NEED TO REFORM ELECTORAL LAWS

Presenter: Omry Mathabatha Makgoale, Thami Ntenteni and Ribbon Mosholi, Veterans of MK’s June 16th Detachment

Discussant: Professor Mcebisi Ndletyana, Dept of Politics and International Relations, University of Johannesburg

Date: 04 April 2017  | Time:  12h30 – 14h00  | Venues: Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town

South Africa is trapped in corruption and the worst political crisis since 1994 because of our flawed electoral law. Our current 100% proportional representation electoral law for the National Assembly and provincial parliaments was suitable for the transition from apartheid, in very fraught conditions. Yet it remains highly undemocratic largely because individual accountability of politicians is a key guarantee for democracy. We have to find an electoral system that balances representativity with accountability.

The current law guarantees representativity at the expense of individual accountability of politicians. This seminar paper draws on the views of a group of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) veterans on electoral reform. The central argument is that, at a minimum, South Africa should adopt the current municipal electoral law for provincial and national parliamentary elections. In this sense, there is a need to select from the variety of alternatives in which constituency election of politicians can be mixed with an element of proportional representation to secure representation of minority political interests.

The HSRC seminar series is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The views and opinions expressed therein  as well as findings and statements of the seminar series do not necessarily represent the views of DST.

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