No plans to introduce electoral system reform

Friday, May 12, 2017

Cape Town – Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says there are no immediate plans to reform the country’s electoral system.

The Deputy President said this when fielding questions in the National Assembly on Thursday.

“Government has no imminent plans to introduce electoral reform to include a constituency-based system.
“As I indicated in my reply to this House on 2 November 2016, the current electoral system has played an important role in ensuring that Parliament is representative, inclusive and promotes social cohesion,” the Deputy President said.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane had asked the Deputy President whether government would introduce electoral reform to include a constituency-based system to ensure greater accountability of public.

The Deputy President said the current system ensures that all votes are equal, that every vote counts and that the allocation of seats in the National Assembly reflects the diversity and the wishes of the South African people.
“It is good and correct that, as Parliament and as a country, we reflect on the relative strengths and shortcomings of various electoral systems.
“In doing so, we should be careful to avoid well-worn clichés. We should be cautious not to claim, for example, that a constituency-based system necessarily guarantees greater accountability of public representatives to the public,” he said.

He said a lot depends on the design of the electoral system, whether it’s purely constituency-based or whether it’s a combination of PR and constituency.  

“Much depends on the size of the constituencies, on the design of the electoral system, on the balance between individual and collective accountability.
“Most importantly, in engaging in this discussion, we need to ensure that we do not abandon an electoral system that has served South African democracy well out of a misguided notion that only a constituency-based system can ensure accountability to voters.
“We need to remember that we have had five national and provincial elections and five local government elections, in which South Africans have held their public representatives to account. The success of these elections should not, however, prevent us from continuing to look at how we can deepen accountability, representivity and inclusivity.” –

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