South Africa: Is Electoral Reform the Best Way to Build a Better South African Democracy?


'We run the risk of the younger generation losing confidence in the political system... and we have the risk of people doing what we saw in the riots recently where if they feel the political system doesn't represent them, they express themselves in other sorts of ways' - Valli Moosa.

On Thursday, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and Constitutional Hill hosted a discussion titled "Electoral Reform: Can we Build a Better Democracy?"

Former justice of the Constitutional Court Albie Sachs gave a historical overview of how the decision to choose proportional representation (PR) as an electoral system came about. "There was nothing in the Freedom Charter that spoke to how you deal with the electoral vote," said Sachs.

He said the system was based on former ANC stalwart Kader Asmal's research, which yielded 39 electoral system recommendations from as many countries, for the liberation movement to consider where the majority of people opted for the PR system.

Sachs said the reason for this was because it was seen as the most democratic in terms of representation in the legislative assembly, easy to manage because you could draw constituent boundaries instead of fighting over them, and it meant that there wasn't a...

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