3rd meeting of the expert panel to contemplate

a new electoral system for South Africa

25 August 2020

Zoom Panel Discussion

The Inclusive Society Institute’s expert panel looking into electoral reform in South Africa met on 25 August 2020 to further elaborate on the design 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.

Discussions have to date focussed on garnering a clear understanding as the prescripts of the Constitutional Court’s judgement and the electoral boundaries set by the Constitution. At this meeting of the panel presentations were made by experts on electoral models in several jurisdictions that employ proportional representation electoral systems that also provide for the participation of independent candidates.

Presentation were made by:

  • Professor emeritus Jørgen Elklit, Aarhus University, Denmark on the findings of the Van Zyl Slabbert Commission on Electoral Reform in South Africa and the Danish model.

  • Professor Michael Krennerich, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, on the German electoral system.

  • Professor Ignacio Lago Peñas, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelo, on the Spanish electoral system.

  • Professor Dave Farrell, University College Dublin on the Irish PR/STV system


In its next phase of deliberations, the panel will start to conceptualise unique South African models that will give effect to the ruling of the judgement.



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

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Ms. Deyana Isaacs

University of Stellenbosch

She undertakes research and lectures Political Governance at the School of Public Leadership, University of Stellenbosch.

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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. David Farrell

University College Dublin

Professor Farrell is Head of the School of Politics and International Relations at UCD. He is a specialist in the study of parties, elections, electoral systems and members of parliament. His current research focuses on the role of deliberation in constitutional reform processes. He is a member of the Royal Irish Academy.

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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

Elexions Agency

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. Ignacio Lago

Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Ignacio Lago is Professor of Political Science at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona, Spain) and Doctor-Miembro at Juan March Institute (Madrid). His recent publications have appeared in Economics and Politics, Electoral Studies, European Journal of Political Economy, European Journal of Political Research, Party Politics and Social Science Quarterly.


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.



Prof. Michael Krennerich

University of Erlangen-Nurnberg

Professor at the Chair for Human Rights and Human Rights Policy (Institute for Political Science); Program Director "Master of Arts Human Rights"; Member of the interdisciplinary Center for Human Rights Erlangen-Nürnberg (CHREN) and the Emerging Field Initiative "Human Rights and Health Care"; Member of the department management (representative of junior staff) as well as the working group "Quality Assurance" of the master’s political science. Mentor in the Ariadnephil mentoring programme.



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.

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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.



Dr. Brigalia Bam


Former Chairperson of the Independent Elections Commission of South Africa

(Could not attend)