Fri. Apr 12th, 2024

The Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has unveiled the seat allocations for provincial legislatures in anticipation of the upcoming elections, with Gauteng securing the maximum of 80 seats. This adjustment is based on the population size of each province, reflecting an increase in Gauteng’s seats from 73 to 80 following the province’s population surpassing 15.1 million in the latest Census report.

The IEC, citing constitutional provisions, specified that the seat determination adhered to Section 105(2) of the Republic of South Africa’s Constitution Act 108 of 1996 and item 3(1) of Schedule 3 to the Electoral Act No.73 of 1998. Limpopo, North West, Mpumalanga, and the Eastern Cape are among the provinces experiencing seat increases in proportion to their population growth.

Limpopo’s seats will rise from 49 to 64, North West from 33 to 38, Mpumalanga from 30 to 51, and the Eastern Cape from 63 to 72. The IEC acknowledged that former Gauteng Premier David Makhura had previously raised the need for additional seats due to the province’s population surge. However, the Western Cape is yet to finalize the seat allocation issue, with the province currently having 42 seats and a recorded population of 7.4 million.

Prof. Dirk KotzĂ© of Unisa noted the significance of the IEC’s announcement, emphasizing that the population of each province determines the number of seats in the legislature. He highlighted the intriguing aspect that the other four provinces, excluding the Western Cape, received ten times the number of seats per million inhabitants. KotzĂ© indicated that this would lead to a change in the electoral system for provincial legislatures, with 50% of members elected through proportional representation and the other 50% as independent representatives based on the latest seat allocation. The composition of the latter 50% will be influenced by the IEC’s recent announcement. The Northern Cape and Free State have the lowest seat numbers, while Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal boast the maximum of 80 Members of Provincial Legislature (MPLs) each.

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