20 April 2017

South Africa: How South Africa's Electoral System Effectively Disenfranchises Voters

Photo: Werner Beukes/Sapa
Voters wait to cast their ballots (file photo).
analysis

The South African Constitution does not provide any clarity on the nature of the relationship between extra-parliamentary political parties and their elected representatives in the national and provincial legislatures. Can extra-parliamentary leaders of political parties dictate to their MPs how to exercise their constitutional duties, including their duty to vote in a motion of no confidence against the president? If parties can dictate to their MPs, it means that power shifts from the democratically elected legislature to the leadership of the governing party which, at most, is "elected" by a few thousand carefully selected party members (possibly after money has changed hands to sway that "vote").

In South Africa, voters do not vote for individual members of the national or provincial legislatures. At the national and provincial level, we vote for political parties, not individual MPs. MPs are "elected" into the legislature because they happen to have been placed high up enough on their respective party's electoral lists (or, in the case of someone like Brian Molefe, because they were manipulated to the top of the relevant list).

But because few, if any, voters know the names of candidates on each party's election list, or the position of each name...

South Africa

Immunity, or Not, What is Happening With Grace Mugabe?

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) has reportedly denied that Zimbabwean First Lady Grace… Read more »

Copyright © 2017 Daily Maverick. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 900 reports a day from more than 150 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.