Is South Africa’s electoral system all inclusive?

South Africa currently uses the proportional representative electoral system which ensures greater inclusivity, meaning more voices are added to the political dialogue.

However the system has been questioned time and again.

Deputy Minister Justice and Constitutional Development John Jeffery says, “In the constituency system, the smaller parties get wiped out. So we thought, because of our history of conflict in South Africa, it was important to have the FF+ in parliament and if you didn’t have a PR system, they would not be in parly.”

Jeffery was addressing the Progressive Professionals Forum, where the relevance of South Africa’s electoral system was debated.

The deputy minister also acknowledged that the system has it’s flaws.

He says “No electoral system is perfect, it’s what’s best for South Africa, the issue also is what has gone wrong, what there been a problem, is something broken with the electoral system?”

Professor Nico Steytler, of the Dullah Omar Institute for Constitutional Law, Governance and Human Rights at University of Western Cape (UWC), says the effectiveness of an electoral system, can be assessed through accountability.

Steytler says there is greater accountability at local government level, he adds that this is not necessarily the case at provincial and national level.

Steytler says, “At the moment (voters) they feel they vote for a party and that’s the end because members of parliament and members of provincial legislators, are then not accountable to the voters.


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