2nd meeting of the expert panel to contemplate
a new electoral system for South Africa
3 August 2020
Zoom Panel Discussion
The Inclusive Society Institute’s expert panel looking into electoral reform in South Africa met on 3 August 2020 to further elaborate on the boundaries of the research to be undertaken in the development of a new electoral model for South Africa.
The necessity to develop a new electoral model has been spurred by the recent Constitutional Court judgement declaring the current electoral model invalid. It has given the legislature two years to introduce new legislation that will enable independent candidates to stand for election in the national and provincial spheres of government.
At its 3 August meeting the panel decided to extend its work beyond the mere development of a technical model that would accommodate the requirement for independent candidates to stand for election. It would also use this window to come up with proposals as how to address the limitations of the current electoral model. The panel would for example consider systems that improve accountability to the voters by elected representatives, the improvement of oversight over the executive and the promotion of meaningful and inclusive demographic representivity within the legislatures.
Whilst not discarding an eventuality that may require some form of constitutional amendment, the preferred option of the panel to date, is to restrict its design to fit within the current boundaries of the Constitution and prescripts of the Constitutional Court judgement. That is, the retention of an electoral system that results, in general, in proportional representation, together with mechanisms providing for independent candidates to stand for election at all three spheres of government.
In its next phase of deliberations, the panel will consider the current applicability of the outcomes contained in the 2003 Van Zyl Slabbert Commission into electoral reform. It will also be receiving presentations on electoral models in other jurisdictions that combine proportionality with the right of independent candidates to stand for election.
Mr. Roelf Meyer
In Transformation Initiative
Chief Government negotiator during the democratic transition in South Africa, former Minister of Constitutional Development, and currently a director of the In Transformation Initiative
Ms. Deyana Isaacs
University of Stellenbosch
She undertakes research and lectures Political Governance at the School of Public Leadership, University of Stellenbosch.
Prof. Dirk Kotze
University of South Africa
Professor in Political Sciences at the University of South Africa (UNISA). He serves as one of the vice-presidents for of the International Political Science Association and the National Secretary of the South African Association of Political Studies.
Prof. William Gumede
University of the Witwatersrand & Democracy Works
Professor at the University of the Witwatersrand School of Governance and Chairperson of Democracy Works Foundation.
Mr. Ebrahim Fakir
Auwil Socio-Economic Research Institute
Political commentator and Director of Programs at Auwil Socio-Economic Research Institute. Former academic, head of political parties and parliamentary programme at EISA, visiting fellow at the Institute for Development Studies @ University of Essex, and visiting Drapre Hills Summer Fellow @ Stanford University.
Ms. Dren Nupen
Former Executive Director of the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa and former Regional Director for Africa at the Open Society Initiative. She brings extensive election experience to the dialogue.
Prof. Firoz Cachalia
University of the Witwatersrand
Professor at the Law School at the University of the Witwatersrand.
Prof. Jorgen Elklit
Aarhus University, Denmark
Current academic convenor of Aarhus University’s yearly MatchPoints seminar. He is a previous member of the South African Independent Electoral Commission, responsible for the conduct of the 1994 South African Parliamentary and Provincial Elections and secretary to the Independent Review Commission.
Prof. Cherrel Africa
University of the Western Cape
Formerly she worked at the Institute for Democracy in South Africa and has since joined the University of the Western Cape as the associate professor and chair for political sciences. She is an elections expert and experienced public commentator. She also served as an election analyst for the SABC and ENCA.
(Could not attend)
Prof. Rassie Malherbe
University of Cape Town
He currently offers an extra-curricular programme in the drafting of legislation at the University of Cape Town. He is a former professor of public law and Head of the Department of Public Law at the University of Johannesburg. He was involved in the constitution-making process in the nineties and still advises government institutions on legislative issues.
Mr. Grant Masterson
stood in on behalf of
Dr. Denis Kadima
Electoral Institute of Southern Africa
Dr. Kadima is the current Executive Director of EISA. He previously worked for the National Democratic Institute for international Affairs as the Senior Programme Manager.
(Could not attend)
Dr. Brigalia Bam
Former Chairperson of the Independent Elections Commission of South Africa
(Could not attend)