Election Resources on the Internet:
The Republic of South Africa Electoral System
by Manuel Álvarez-Rivera

On April 26-29, 1994, South Africans of all races went to the polls to choose members of newly established national and provincial legislative bodies. A description of the proportional representation system introduced in South Africa's first universal adult suffrage general election is presented here.

Interactive election maps as well as nationwide- and provincial-level results for the 1994, 1999 and 2004 general elections are available here.


Historical Background

The South Africa Act passed by the British Parliament in 1909 merged the self-governing British colonies of the Cape, Natal, Orange River and the Transvaal into the Union of South Africa, a dominion within the British Commonwealth. The Act, which served as the Union's constitution until 1961, established a parliamentary regime along the lines of the Westminster model, composed of a directly elected House of Assembly and an indirectly elected Senate. However, the franchise was largely restricted to white men: the Orange Free State (formerly the Orange River Colony) and the Transvaal denied all non-whites the right to vote, while in Natal the restrictions in place excluded virtually all non-whites. Only in the Cape Province a significant number of black and Colored (mixed-race) men were entitled to vote under a "color-blind" franchise based on property requirements. Nevertheless, only white men could be elected to Parliament.

The South Africa Act was the result of a political compromise between the two major white ethno-linguistic groups - the Afrikaners, descendants of 17th- and 18th-century Dutch, French and German settlers, who speak Afrikaans (a derivative of 17th-century Dutch) and comprise the majority of South Africa's white population; and the English speakers. The Act made no provision whatsoever for an eventual extension of the right to vote to all adult citizens regardless of race - a serious flaw which was perpetuated by successive South African governments. Even the limited Cape franchise was subject to amendment, albeit by a two-thirds majority of the members in both houses of Parliament, voting together in a joint sitting. As a result, South Africa's white minority - which accounted for less than one-fourth of the country's population when the Union was established in 1910 - achieved complete political control over a largely disenfranchised non-white population.

In 1930 the franchise was extended to white women, but not to black or Colored women. A year later the literacy and property requirements were repealed for white voters but were retained for black and Colored voters. These measures effectively diminished the value of the vote of Colored and black men in the Cape Province. The Representation of Natives Act of 1936 removed black males from the common voters' roll in the Cape. Instead, the act - passed by the required two-thirds majority of the two houses of Parliament sitting together - entitled blacks in the Cape Province to elect three white representatives to the House of Assembly and four Senators. The Act also established an elected Natives Representative Council that had advisory powers only. At the same time, the Native Reserves that had been set aside for exclusive occupation by blacks (who accounted for more than two-thirds of South Africa's population at the time) were increased to thirteen percent of the land area of the Union.

Members of the House of Assembly (MPs) were chosen in single-member constituencies by the first-past-the-post system, under which the candidate obtaining the largest number of votes in each constituency was elected to office. A provision in the electoral law allowed urban constituencies to be overloaded with fifteen percent more voters, and rural constituencies to be underloaded by the same amount. As a result, fewer votes were needed to win a constituency seat in the country than in the cities. The loading of urban constituencies, which had been agreed to in 1909 during the course of the negotiations leading to the establishment of the Union, was a crucial factor in the outcome of the May 1948 general election, in which the Afrikaner-based National Party (NP) and its allies secured a majority of seats in the House of Assembly, despite receiving fewer votes than the ruling United Party (UP).

The NP came to power on a platform of strict separation between the races, called apartheid in Afrikaans - literally, "apartness". Under apartheid, existing racial segregation and discrimination policies were codified and extended, to cover every aspect of life in South Africa. The Population Registration Act of 1950 classified every South African by race. The Group Areas Act, also enacted in 1950, established segregated residential and business sections in urban areas for each race. The Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act of 1949 made marriages between whites and non-whites illegal, while the Immorality Amendment Act of 1950 prohibited sexual relations across the color line. The Reservation of Separate Amenities Act of 1953 allowed local authorities to provide separate and unequal amenities for the various races. The Bantu Education Act of 1953 provided for separate - and inferior - educational facilities for blacks, while the Extension of University Education Act of 1959 prohibited blacks from attending white universities, except with special permission on an individual basis; it also established segregated colleges along ethnic lines for blacks, Coloreds and Indians. The Industrial Conciliation Act of 1956 allowed the government to reserve skilled jobs for whites only.

The Separate Representation of Voters Act of 1951 sought to remove Colored voters in the Cape Province from the common roll. The Appeal Court promptly declared the act invalid, as it failed to meet the requirements laid out by the South Africa Act, under which the Cape franchise could be modified only by a two-thirds majority of both houses of Parliament sitting together. For the next four years the Nationalist government, which did not have the required majority, sought to circumvent the constitutional provision by a number of means, to no avail. Finally, in 1955 the government pushed through Parliament a Senate Act that enlarged the Upper House from forty-eight to eighty-nine members, elected in a way such that the Nationalists secured the majority required to modify the Cape franchise. Under the South Africa Act Amendment Act of 1956, passed with both houses sitting together, Colored voters were removed from the common roll and placed on a separate roll, returning four white members to represent them on the House of Assembly. The Senate Act was challenged in the courts, but the Appeal Court confirmed the validity of the Act, on the grounds that Parliament was sovereign, and could pass any law it wished. The four Colored seats were abolished in 1968, while the previously enlarged Senate was reduced to fifty-four members in 1960.

The government treated blacks as "tribal" people. They were tolerated in the urban areas only as "temporary sojourners" working for whites; when their services were no longer required, they had to return to the Native Reserves. The Bantu Authorities Act of 1951 provided for the establishment of government-appointed tribal, regional and territorial Bantu Authorities in the Native Reserves and abolished the Natives Representative Council. Under the Promotion of Bantu Self-Government Act of 1959, which abolished black representation in Parliament, the reserves were consolidated into eight (eventually ten) self-governing areas, initially called Bantu Homelands or Bantustans, and later Black States; each homeland was designated for a separate African ethnic community. Despite the existence of a second and third generation of urban-born blacks, many of whom had adopted Western ways and forsaken tribal customs, the Bantu Homelands Citizenship Act of 1970 made every black South African, irrespective of actual residence, a citizen of one of the homelands, effectively excluding blacks from the South African political system. Between 1976 and 1981, South Africa granted "independence" to four homelands: Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei - the so-called TBVC states. Nonetheless, these homelands, located in overcrowded and unproductive rural areas, remained politically and economically dependent on South Africa, and none was ever recognized internationally as a sovereign nation.

Pass laws, which required non-whites to carry documents authorizing their presence in restricted areas, were extended by the Natives (Abolition of Passes and Co-ordination of Documents) Act of 1952, which despite its name replaced the pass with a reference book - the much-hated "dompas" - issued to all blacks over the age of sixteen. The reference book always had to be carried by the holder and produced on demand; failure to carry the pass book was a criminal offense punishable by a prison sentence. Moreover, under the terms of the Native Laws Amendment Act of 1952, no black without residential qualifications was allowed to remain in an urban area for more than seventy-two hours. These "influx control" laws, which severely restricted the freedom of movement of South Africa's black population, attempted - quite unsuccessfully - to reverse massive black migration to the cities.

Police powers were significantly expanded by laws such as the notorious Terrorism Act of 1967, which allowed the government to arrest and detain people indefinitely without trial and in solitary confinement, and to deny them access to their families or lawyers. Other laws allowed the government to ban individuals and organizations opposed to apartheid. The African National Congress (ANC) and the Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC) - black nationalist organizations that had pursued non-violent methods of resistance to apartheid - were outlawed in 1960. Both the ANC and the PAC then turned to violence, although the ANC sabotage campaign, which targeted government buildings and strategic places such as police stations and power plants, carefully avoided taking any human lives. Nevertheless, by 1964 the government had captured many of the leaders, including Nelson Mandela and PAC leader Robert Sobukwe. Eight ANC leaders, including Mandela, were tried for treason and sent to prison for life. Oliver Tambo, Thabo Mbeki, and other ANC leaders fled the country and led the struggle in exile.

Under apartheid, blacks (and to a lesser degree, Coloreds and Indians) suffered from widespread poverty, malnutrition and disease. Whites, however, achieved an extremely high standard of living. Supported by a growing number of white voters, the NP increased its parliamentary majority in all but one of the general elections held in South Africa from 1953 to 1977. Although the opposition UP had actually outpolled the NP in 1953 and 1958, a narrow majority of the all-white electorate supported a government proposal to establish a republic in a referendum held on October 5, 1960, with 850,458 votes in favor (52.3%) and 775,878 against (47.7%), on a 90.75% turnout; blacks, Coloreds and Indians were not consulted. However, South Africa was forced to withdraw from the British Commonwealth in 1961, as several other member countries - most notably India, Ghana and Canada - attacked its discriminatory policies. Nonetheless, the Republic of South Africa Constitution Act of 1961, based largely on the South Africa Act, brought few changes - South Africa had been an independent country since the United Kingdom Parliament passed the Statute of Westminster in 1931. The 1961 constitution replaced the British monarch, represented by a Governor-General, with a largely ceremonial State President; the Prime Minister remained the dominant figure in the South African government, all the more so in light of the 1956 Appeal Court ruling which upheld the sovereignty of Parliament.

The UP, which had initially opposed some of the discriminatory legislation introduced by successive NP administrations, gradually moved to the right, attempting to recover lost ground by portraying itself as the defender of white interests. However, this approach, described as "white leadership with justice" - in essence a somewhat less harsh variation of apartheid - proved unsuccessful, as the party continued to lose ground to the NP, even among English-speaking voters. By 1966, the UP had been reduced to non-competitive status throughout much of white South Africa.

The United Party's shift to the right led to a major split in 1959, when eleven liberal MPs broke away to form the Progressive Party. The Progressives ran on a platform that rejected apartheid and proposed limited non-white political participation by means of a qualified franchise, based on education and income requirements. (In 1978 the party dropped the qualified franchise policy in favor of a universal adult franchise on a Common Voters Roll.) They also proposed a Bill of Rights, a federal system of government, and an independent judiciary. However, the party was nearly wiped out in the 1961 general election: only one Progressive MP - Mrs. Helen Suzman - retained a seat in the House of Assembly. As her party's sole representative in Parliament from 1961 to 1974 (she was the only Progressive Party candidate to win a seat in the 1966 and 1970 general elections), Mrs. Suzman stood alone in opposition to apartheid, often casting the single opposing vote against laws which undermined civil rights and extended racial discrimination practices. Mrs. Suzman's courageous defense of South Africa's disenfranchised non-white majority earned her worldwide recognition, as well as the bitter enmity of the NP, whose leaders desperately wanted to convey to the rest of the world the notion that all whites were united behind the government.

The electoral fortunes of the Progressive Party improved in the 1974 general election, when Mrs. Suzman and six additional Progressive candidates, including party leader Colin Eglin, were returned to Parliament. The breakthrough came at the expense of the UP, which began to crumble shortly thereafter. In 1975, the Progressives merged with the Reform Party, a new breakaway group of UP legislators, and became the Progressive Reform Party. In 1977, the United Party was dissolved; many of its remaining members formed the New Republic Party (NRP). However, another group of former UP parliamentarians joined the Progressive Reform Party, which was renamed the Progressive Federal Party (PFP). In the 1977 general election, the NP scored a landslide victory, while the PFP became the Official Opposition, with 17 seats (out of 165) in the House of Assembly. The NRP won only ten seats, all but one of them in Natal Province. In the 1981 general election the PFP, led since 1979 by an Afrikaner, Dr. Frederik van Zyl Slabbert, increased its representation in the House of Assembly to 26 seats, consolidating its position as the Official Opposition to the NP. However, the PFP - supported mostly by middle- and upper-middle class English-speakers - was never in a position to challenge the NP's large parliamentary majority. Nonetheless, it played an important yet sometimes overlooked role in South African politics, by offering to the white electorate the alternative of genuine power sharing with non-whites, including blacks. Unpopular as the PFP proposals were at the time among many white South Africans, the principles they embodied would eventually be adopted as government policy.

Although the government respected the rights of opposition parties in the whites-only Parliament, it suppressed criticism of its policies from other quarters, detaining without trial or otherwise silencing opponents of the regime. In 1976, the police opened fire on high-school students in the black township of Soweto (now part of Johannesburg), who were marching in protest against having to be taught in Afrikaans, perceived as the language of the oppressor. Massive protests, which rapidly spread from Soweto to other black townships, were brutally suppressed by the government. In 1977, Steve Biko, who led a Black Consciousness Movement that encouraged Africans to take pride in their own culture and to recognize their own self-worth, was killed while in police custody; his death provoked an international outcry. Later that year, the United Nations Security Council imposed a mandatory arms embargo against South Africa.

The NP government, headed by P.W. Botha, who in 1978 had succeeded John Vorster as Prime Minister, introduced a number of reforms to appease growing domestic and foreign criticism of the regime. In 1979 the government repealed the reservation of skilled jobs for whites, and legalized black trade unions, thus giving blacks the right to strike. In 1985 the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act of 1949 and the Immorality Act of 1957 were repealed. That year the government also repealed the Prohibition of Political Interference Act of 1968, which had prohibited multiracial political parties. In 1986, the government abolished influx control and the pass laws, and recognized the permanency of the black urban population by introducing freehold rights in the townships. The government also desegregated many hotels, restaurants, trains and buses. In 1980, the Senate was replaced with a President's Council, an advisory body consisting of sixty white, Colored, Indian and Chinese nominated members. (At the same time, the House of Assembly was expanded to include twelve nominated members, eight of whom were chosen by MPs on the basis of proportional representation, and four appointed by the State President.)

In the 1981 general election the NP was returned to office with a large majority. However, it lost a significant number of Afrikaner voters to the extreme right-wing Herstigte Nasionale Party (HNP; Reconstituted National Party). The HNP, running on a platform of rigid racial segregation, increased its vote five-fold but won no seats in Parliament. A more serious right-wing challenge to the NP emerged in 1982, when the President's Council presented a set of proposals for constitutional and political reform, which called for the introduction of "power sharing" between the white, Colored and Indian communities. A group of sixteen far-right National Party MPs, led by Dr. Andries P. Treurnicht, a cabinet minister and leader of the NP in the Transvaal, broke away to form the Conservative Party (CP), which advocated a return to the complete orthodox doctrine of apartheid in its original form. The CP polled strongly in several by-elections held to fill vacant seats in the House of Assembly; Treurnicht himself resigned as MP, fought a by-election, and retained his seat.

Nevertheless, Botha moved to implement the recommendations of the President's Council. In 1983 the government introduced a new constitution, which provided for a Parliament composed of three separately elected chambers: a 178-member all-white House of Assembly (in effect the existing Parliament), an 85-member (Colored) House of Representatives and a 45-member (Indian) House of Delegates. Each chamber would have responsibility over its community "own affairs", such as education, social welfare, housing, local government, arts, culture and recreation, except competitive sports. Legislation dealing with "general affairs", which included defense, finance, foreign policy, justice, law and order, transport, commerce and industry, manpower, internal affairs, and overall agricultural policy required approval from all three chambers, after consideration by joint standing committees.

The government would be headed by an executive State President, selected by an 88-member electoral college composed of 50 whites, 25 Coloreds and 13 Indians, chosen by their respective houses of Parliament. The State President, who had wide-ranging constitutional powers, would appoint a Cabinet of ministers to be in charge of "general affairs", as well as Ministers' Councils from the three chambers to manage "own affairs". Disagreements among houses of Parliament on specific legislation would be resolved by a President's Council, composed of twenty members designated by the House of Assembly, ten by the House of Representatives, five by the House of Delegates, and twenty-five appointed by the State President, for a total of 60 members.

The new constitution made no provision for enfranchising black South Africans: the government stubbornly clung to the fiction that all blacks belonged in their designated homelands, in which they were to exercise their political rights. By 1983, three and a half-million blacks had been removed from white areas and dumped into the homelands, most of which were economic and political disasters.

The proposed constitution, enacted by Parliament as the Republic of South Africa Constitution Act of 1983, was submitted to a referendum of the white electorate, held on November 2, 1983. The government was opposed both by the PFP, which objected to the exclusion of blacks, and the CP, which objected to the participation of Coloreds and Indians. However, many PFP followers, as well as parts of the otherwise anti-government English-language press supported the new constitution as "a step in the right direction", and the government won the referendum by a wide margin, with 1,360,223 votes in favor (66.3%) and 691,577 against (33.7%), on a seventy-six percent turnout.

Representatives of 575 community bodies, trade unions, sporting bodies, and women's and youth organizations formed the multiracial United Democratic Front (UDF) to oppose participation by Coloreds and Indians in the August 1984 elections to the House of Representatives and the House of Delegates, and by blacks in the elections to Black Local Authorities. Although the election boycott was overwhelmingly successful, the new constitution came into effect in September. Prime Minister P.W. Botha was then chosen State President by an electoral college comprised of representatives of the majority parties from the three houses of Parliament.

While some of the reforms introduced by the Botha government were significant, the distribution of power remained fundamentally unchanged. The Colored and Indian chambers of Parliament were subordinate to the white House of Assembly. The cornerstones of apartheid - the Population Registration Act, the Group Areas Act, the Reservation of Separate Amenities Act, and so on - remained on the statute books. Botha, who had embarked on a massive military buildup, used the military-dominated State Security Council rather than the Cabinet as his major policy-making body. In 1986, Frederik van Zyl Slabbert, leader of the PFP and the Official Opposition, resigned from Parliament, which he described as "a grotesque exercise in irrelevancy." Alex Boraine, another leading PFP figure, followed him. The PFP reinstated Colin Eglin as leader of the party and the Official Opposition.

International pressures on the South African government intensified in 1985 and 1986. In July 1985, Chase Manhattan Bank announced that it would no longer be prepared to roll over its short-term loans to South Africa. Other international banks followed, triggering a major financial crisis in the country; inflation reached 20% in 1986, the highest since 1920, eroding South African living standards. In October 1986, the U.S. Congress overrode a presidential veto to pass a Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act, implementing mandatory sanctions against South Africa, which included the banning of new investments and loans, the ending of air links between the United States and South Africa, and the banning of many South African imports. Other governments took similar actions. In addition, many foreign companies pulled out of South Africa.

Rent boycotts, strikes and other activities organized by the UDF to make Black Local Authorities ungovernable triggered an unprecedented wave of violence. To quell the unrest, in 1985 the government declared a state of emergency in many parts of the country; the following year it was extended throughout the nation. However, repressive action by the police and the Army did not bring stability; instead, South Africa became increasingly polarized. Confronted with mounting black, Colored and Indian resistance to apartheid, the white electorate swung to the right in a general election for the House of Assembly held on May 6, 1987. The NP increased its parliamentary majority, while the PFP was reduced to 19 seats. The CP increased its representation to 22 seats and displaced the PFP as the Official Opposition.

The Botha government took an increasingly harder line toward dissent after the 1987 general election. In 1988, the government tightened press restrictions introduced during the state of emergency and banned several extra-parliamentary opposition groups - among them the UDF - in an attempt to bolster its standing among conservative white voters. Nonetheless, the CP scored substantial gains in municipal elections held on October 26. The continuing drift to the right in white politics effectively paralyzed the government's program of reforms to apartheid.

P.W. Botha suffered a stroke in January 1989. In February, he stepped down as leader of the NP, but kept his position as head of government. F.W. de Klerk, Minister of Education and leader of the NP in the Transvaal, was chosen to succeed Botha as party leader. Botha resigned as State President in August, after a period of increasingly open dissension between him and de Klerk, the Cabinet, and NP parliamentarians; de Klerk became Acting State President.

General elections for the tricameral Parliament were held on September 6, 1989. The NP, led by de Klerk, campaigned on the basis of a program for moving away from apartheid and negotiating a new constitution with representative leaders of all communities, including the black majority. However, the NP plan rejected majority rule; instead, it endorsed the concept of "group rights", under which no racial or ethnic group could take precedence over any other. In April the liberal PFP merged with the National Democratic Movement (NDM) and the Independent Party (IP) to form the Democratic Party (DP). The new party was led by Zach de Beer (PFP), Wynand Malan (NDM) and Dennis Worrall (IP). Malan and Worrall were both former NP members, who ran as independent candidates in the 1987 general election; Malan had retained his seat, but Worrall, a former ambassador to the United Kingdom, had been defeated by a narrow margin. The DP campaigned for the negotiation of a new, non-racial democratic constitution.

In the election, the NP suffered its worst setback since 1948. The party was returned to power with a drastically reduced majority, losing thirty seats in the House of Assembly. The CP gained seventeen seats, for a total of 39 seats, while the DP secured 33 seats, a gain of twelve seats with respect to the PFP and its allies in 1987. As in 1984, elections for the House of Representatives and the House of Delegates were massively boycotted by Colored and Indian voters.

Among white voters, the swing to the right stalled, in large measure due to events in the small mining towns of Boksburg and Carletonville, where CP municipal councils elected in 1988 attempted to reintroduce apartheid, resulting in black boycotts of white businesses, which in due course were threatened with bankruptcy. Many whites came to realize that it would be very difficult, if not impossible to return to racial separation, given the increasing resistance of the black majority, which was growing at a faster rate than the white minority: by 1991, three out of every four South Africans were black, while whites constituted just over one-eight of the country's population.

Under F.W. de Klerk, who was elected State President on September 14, 1989, the reform process was accelerated. Mass protest demonstrations were legalized for the first time since 1976. In October, eight political prisoners, including former ANC secretary-general Walter Sisulu, were released from prison. In November all of the nation's beaches and four residential areas were opened to all races.

On February 2, 1990, at the opening of Parliament, State President de Klerk announced, among other measures, the lifting of the bans on the ANC, the South African Communist Party (SACP), the PAC, and other illegal organizations. On February 11, Nelson Mandela was released after twenty-seven years in prison; he was elected deputy president of the ANC in March. In June, the state of emergency was lifted except in Natal province, where it was lifted in October. In August, the ANC suspended the armed struggle it had launched in 1961. On October 15, Parliament repealed the Reservation of Separate Amenities Act of 1953. The NP opened its membership to all races. In December, the president of the ANC, Oliver Tambo, returned to South Africa after more than thirty years in exile.

In June 1991, the Land Acts of 1913 and 1936, the Group Areas Act of 1950 and the Population Registration Act of 1950 were repealed by Parliament. Many of the repressive measures in the Internal Security Act were also removed by Parliament. The U.S. lifted trade and investment sanctions against South Africa shortly afterwards. In July, the ANC held its first annual Conference inside South Africa in thirty years; Nelson Mandela was elected president of the ANC, replacing the ailing Oliver Tambo. In August, the UDF was disbanded. Political prisoners were freed, and all political exiles were allowed to return to South Africa. Formal constitutional negotiations began on December 20, when the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (Codesa) met in Johannesburg, with representatives from nineteen governmental and political organizations in attendance.

After losing a House of Assembly by-election to the CP in the constituency of Potchefstroom, the government held a referendum on March 17, 1992, in which the white electorate was asked whether it supported the continuation of the reform process aimed at a new constitution through negotiation. Continued negotiations were overwhelmingly approved, with 1,924,186 votes in favor (68.7%) and 875,619 against (31.3%), on an eighty-five percent turnout.

Multi-party negotiations resumed in May 1992, but the talks, known as Codesa II, broke down due to differences between the government and the ANC over procedures for the adoption of a new constitution, in particular the percentage of votes required to approve the constitution. However, on September 26 State President de Klerk and ANC leader Nelson Mandela agreed to a Record of Understanding, which broke the constitutional deadlock of Codesa II. Under the agreement, a democratically elected constitutional assembly would serve as a transitional legislature under an interim constitution.

The multi-party negotiating forum, which now comprised twenty-six groups, reconvened in April 1993. An agreement was reached in June to hold South Africa's first one-person, one-vote general election on April 27, 1994. The elections were to be held under an interim constitution, approved on November 18 by the multi-party conference, and by Parliament on December 22. The interim constitution - Act 200 of 1993 - established a National Assembly elected by proportional representation, and a Senate elected indirectly by the legislatures of nine newly established provinces. Elections to the provincial legislatures would be held at the same time as elections to the National Assembly.

On the basis of agreements reached between the NP government and the ANC in February, the new government would be composed of representatives of all parties securing more than five percent of the vote and would make decisions by consensus. The two largest parties, or any party that received more than twenty percent of the vote would be entitled to designate a Deputy President. This government of national unity would serve for a term of five years. A Transitional Executive Council (TEC) with representatives from each party was established to supervise the elections; an Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) would be responsible for the administration of the elections. The TEC, which shared executive responsibilities with State President de Klerk, convened on December 7.

Opponents of the interim constitution formed a Freedom Alliance, which brought together the Zulu-based Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), led by Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi; the right-wing Afrikaner Volksfront (AVF; Afrikaner People's Front), led by Gen. Constand Viljoen, retired head of the South African Defense Force (SADF); and the governments of the nominally independent homelands of Bophuthatswana and Ciskei. The Freedom Alliance parties, which had withdrawn from the multi-party negotiating forum, rejected the new constitution on the grounds that it was insufficiently federal in nature, and declared an election boycott. Subsequent government concessions, which provided for the introduction of separate ballots for national and provincial elections; guarantees of greater provincial powers; the constitutional establishment of a volkstaat (white homeland) council to consider possible self-determination for Afrikaners; and the renaming of Natal province as KwaZulu/Natal did not satisfy the Alliance.

Nevertheless, the Freedom Alliance began to unravel in the months preceding the election. In March 1994, a popular uprising in Bophuthatswana prompted the SADF to intervene and to depose homeland President Lucas Mangope. Later that month, the Ciskei government stepped down in the face of a police mutiny. The TEC appointed temporary administrations in both areas. Meanwhile, General Viljoen registered a new party, known as the Freedom Front (FF); in April he signed an agreement with the NP government and the ANC on conditions for recognition of a volkstaat. Finally, on April 19 Chief Buthelezi accepted an offer that provided for constitutional recognition of the Zulu monarchy, and the IFP agreed to participate in the election.

The black homelands, which were reincorporated into South Africa, ceased to exist when the interim constitution came into effect on April 27. Township violence, which had continued unabated during the negotiation process, subsided considerably, and the election was held under peaceful conditions on April 26-29, 1994. Millions of South Africans waited patiently in long lines to vote for the first time in their lives. There was no voters' roll, so IEC officials marked voters' fingers with indelible ink in order to prevent fraud. Although there were some allegations of election irregularities, particularly in KwaZulu/Natal, on May 6 the IEC as well as international observers proclaimed the election substantially free and fair.

The ANC won the election with 62.6% of vote, securing 252 of the 400 seats in the National Assembly. The NP won 82 seats with 20.4%, while the IFP obtained 43 seats with 10.5%. The FF, the DP, the PAC and the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) shared the remaining 23 seats. The ANC won seven of the nine provinces; the NP won in the Western Cape, while KwaZulu/Natal was won by the IFP.

On May 9, 1994, the National Assembly unanimously elected Nelson Mandela President of South Africa. He was inaugurated on May 10, along with Deputy Presidents Thabo Mbeki and F.W de Klerk. The Government of National Unity was composed of representatives from the ANC, the NP and the IFP. During his presidency, Mandela pursued a policy of racial reconciliation.

In May 1996, the Constitutional Assembly - joint sittings of the National Assembly and the Senate - adopted a definitive constitution. In terms of a judgment of the Constitutional Court, delivered in September, the text was referred back to the Constitutional Assembly for reconsideration. The text was accordingly amended to comply with the Constitutional Principles contained in the interim constitution. The new constitution, which was signed into law in December, incorporates an extensive bill of rights that forbids discrimination on the grounds of race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, color, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth. Except for the replacement of the Senate with the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), the 1996 constitution retained the government institutions established by the interim constitution.

Although the multi-party government established under the interim constitution was meant to continue until the expiration of its five-year term in 1999, the NP withdrew from the Government of National Unity in June 1996. In August 1997 former President F.W. de Klerk resigned as leader of the NP. He was succeeded by Marthinus Van Schalkwyk.

Nelson Mandela retired as President of South Africa in 1999. He was succeeded by Thabo Mbeki after the ANC won a landslide victory in a general election held on June 2, 1999. The DP increased its vote five-fold and became the Official Opposition, displacing the New National Party (NNP), which dropped from second to fourth place in the election. In June 2000, the DP and the NNP merged to form the Democratic Alliance (DA). However, the merger proved to be short-lived. In October 2001, the NNP pulled out of the DA, and entered into an alliance with the ANC.

In 2003, the constitution was amended to allow MPs - as well as Members of Provincial Legislatures (MPLs) - to change their political party affiliations during designated window periods without losing their seats - provided that those changing party affiliation constituted at least ten percent of the party they were leaving. During the 15-day window period that began on March 28, 2003, a number of MPs (and MPLs) defected to various parties, while others formed new parties.

President Thabo Mbeki led the ANC to a third landslide victory in a general election held on April 14, 2004. The DA improved upon the results obtained by the DP in 1999 and consolidated its position as the Official Opposition to the ANC, while the NNP suffered staggering losses and dropped from fourth to sixth place in the election. The NNP subsequently disbanded, and many of its remaining members - including among them the party's last leader, Marthinus Van Schalkwyk - joined the ANC.

In December 2007 President Mbeki lost the presidency of the ANC to Jacob Zuma, a former deputy president who has faced corruption charges on several occasions. The following September, Mbeki was ousted as the country's president as well, following a decision of the ANC's national executive committee; ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe succeeded Mbeki as President of South Africa. However, a number of ANC leaders close to Mbeki subsequently left the party to establish the Congress of the People (COPE). Meanwhile, the constitution was amended to abolish the right of MPs and MPLs to become become members of other political parties without losing their seats.

The African National Congress won a further landslide victory in the April 22, 2009 general election, albeit with a slightly reduced share of the vote - the ruling party's first decrease since the adoption of universal suffrage in 1994. The Democratic Alliance scored further gains and remained by far the largest opposition party (although well behind ANC), while the Congress of the People came in third place, displacing the Inkatha Freedom Party, which continued to lose ground. Shortly after the election, ANC leader Jacob Zuma was elected President of South Africa.

Elections to the National Assembly

The National Assembly is composed of 400 members directly elected by universal adult suffrage for a term of five years. The composition of the National Assembly is determined by proportional representation (PR). One-half of the seats in the National Assembly - 200 seats - are filled from regional lists submitted by the political parties, while the remaining half is filled from national lists submitted by the parties, or from regional lists where national lists are not submitted. Party lists may consist of both a national list and a list for each region, or a list for each region. The total number of candidates in a party list cannot exceed the number of seats in the National Assembly. The lists are closed, so electors may not choose individual candidates in or alter the order of such lists. Electors cast a ballot for a single list.

Regional seats are allocated among the nine South African provinces in proportion to their electorates. For the 1994, 1999, 2004 and 2009 general elections, these seats were distributed in the following manner:

   Province       Regional Seats   
        
  
         1994       1999       2004       2009   
   Eastern Cape       26       27       28       26   
   Free State       15       14       13       12   
   Gauteng       43       46       45       47   
   KwaZulu-Natal       40       38       37       39   
   Limpopo       20       20       21       19   
   Mpumalanga       14       14       14       15   
   Northern Cape       4       4       4       5   
   North West       17       17       17       14   
   Western Cape       21       20       21       23   
   Total       200       200       200       200   

Seats in the National Assembly are allocated by means of a two-stage procedure that combines two methods of PR. In the first stage, the seats in each province are apportioned according to the largest remainder method. In each region, a quota of votes per seat is determined by dividing the total number of votes cast in the region by the number of regional seats, plus one. The result plus one, disregarding fractions, becomes the quota of votes per seat for the region. To determine how many seats each party will receive in the region, its total number of votes is divided by the quota of votes per seat. This will produce a whole number, which is the number of seats initially allocated to the party, and a surplus or remainder. Once this calculation is performed for all parties, the sum or aggregate number of allocated seats is obtained. If this total is smaller than the number of regional seats, unallocated seats are awarded to the parties according to the descending order of their remainders. The seat distributions from all provinces are aggregated at the national level, to obtain the number of regional list seats allocated to each party.

The second stage begins with the proportional distribution of all 400 seats in the National Assembly. To that end, a quota of votes per seat is determined by dividing the total number of votes cast across the nation by the number of seats in the National Assembly, plus one. The result plus one, disregarding fractions, becomes the quota of votes per seat. To determine the number of seats each party will receive, its total number of votes is divided by the quota of votes per seat. This will produce a whole number, which is the number of seats initially allocated to the party, and a surplus or remainder. Once this calculation is performed for all parties, the sum or aggregate number of allocated seats is obtained. If this total is smaller than the number of seats in the National Assembly, unallocated seats are awarded to the parties according to the descending order of their remainders, up to a maximum of five seats. Any remaining seats are awarded to the parties following the descending order of their average number of votes per allocated seats.

The regional list seats won by a party are then subtracted from the total number of seats allocated to that party's list, and the remaining seats are filled by the candidates on the national list in the order determined before the election. In the event a party does not present a national list, the seats allocated to it at the national level are filled from its regional lists.

The largest remainder method of PR is also used to elect members of the nine provincial legislatures.

Allocation of National Assembly Seats in the 1994 General Election

The procedures for allocating National Assembly seats in the 1994 general election were laid out by the interim constitution. In each province, a quota of votes per seat was calculated in order to allocate the regional seats. In Pretoria-Witwatersrand-Vereeniging (PWV; now Gauteng province), which had been assigned 43 seats, the nineteen parties contesting the election received a total of 4,208,301 votes. Therefore, the quota of votes per seat in the province was computed in the following manner:

   4,208,301 

 44 
+ 1 = 95,644

Each party was then assigned an initial number of seats, equal to the integer division of its vote in the region by the quota of votes per seat, as shown below for the top seven parties:

 
ANC:    2,486,938 

 95,644 
= 26;   Remainder: 194
 
NP:    1,160,593 

 95,644 
= 12;   Remainder: 12,865
 
IFP:    173,903 

 95,644 
= 1;   Remainder: 78,259
 
FF-VF:    154,878 

 95,644 
= 1;   Remainder: 59,234
 
DP:    126,368 

 95,644 
= 1;   Remainder: 30,724
 
PAC:    52,557 

 95,644 
= 0;   Remainder: 52,557
 
ACDP:    20,329 

 95,644 
= 0;   Remainder: 20,329

The remaining twelve parties, whose regional vote totals ranged from a low of 490 to a high of 7,413, won no seats at this stage; their remainders were equal to their respective number of votes.

At this point, the allocation of seats in PWV province stood as follows:

   List    Seats   
   ANC    26   
   NP    12   
   IFP    1   
   FF-VF    1   
   DP    1   
   Total    41   

However, two of the forty-three seats remained to be allocated. The largest remainders were then determined, by sorting them in descending order, with the top six shown below:

   List    Remainder   
   IFP    78,259   
   FF-VF    59,234   
   PAC    52,557   
   DP    30,724   
   ACDP    20,329   
   NP    12,865   

(Remainders for the other thirteen parties ranged from a high of 7,413 to a low of 194.)

Since the IFP and the FF-VF had the two largest remainders, one seat was allocated to each of these parties. This operation completed the allocation of regional seats in Gauteng province in the following manner:

   List    Seats   
   ANC    26   
   NP    12   
   IFP    2   
   FF-VF    2   
   DP    1   
   Total    43   

The described procedure was repeated in each province. The seat distributions from all provinces were then aggregated at the national level, which produced the following allocation of regional list seats:

   List    Seats   
   ANC    129   
   NP    42   
   IFP    22   
   FF-VF    4   
   DP    3   
   Total    200   

To distribute the national list seats, the total number of votes cast across the nation was divided by the number of seats in the National Assembly, plus one. The result plus one produced the quota of votes per seat:

   19,533,498 

 401 
+ 1 = 48,712

Then, the nationwide vote total obtained by each party was divided by the quota of votes per seat, as shown below for the top seven parties:

 
ANC:    12,237,655 

 48,712 
= 251;   Remainder: 10,943
 
NP:    3,983,690 

 48,712 
= 81;   Remainder: 38,018
 
IFP:    2,058,294 

 48,712 
= 42;   Remainder: 12,390
 
FF-VF:    424,555 

 48,712 
= 8;   Remainder: 34,859
 
DP:    338,426 

 48,712 
= 6;   Remainder: 46,154
 
PAC:    243,478 

 48,712 
= 4;   Remainder: 48,630
 
ACDP:    88,104 

 48,712 
= 1;   Remainder: 39,392

The remaining twelve parties, whose nationwide vote totals ranged from a low of 3,293 to a high of 34,466, won no seats at this stage; their remainders were equal to their respective number of votes.

At this point, the allocation of National Assembly seats stood as follows:

   List    Seats   
   ANC    251   
   NP    81   
   IFP    42   
   FF-VF    8   
   DP    6   
   PAC    4   
   ACDP    1   
   Total    393   

However, seven of the 400 seats remained to be allocated. The five largest remainders were then determined, by sorting them in descending order, as shown below:

   List    Remainder   
   PAC    48,630   
   DP    46,154   
   ACDP    39,392   
   NP    38,018   
   FF-VF    34,859   

(Remainders for the other fourteen parties ranged from a high of 34,466 to a low of 3,293.)

Since the PAC, the DP, the ACDP, the NP and the FF-VF had the five largest remainders, one seat was allocated to each of these parties. As a result, the allocation of National Assembly seats, first by whole quotas and then by the five largest remainders, stood as follows:

   List    Seats   
   ANC    251   
   NP    82   
   IFP    42   
   FF-VF    9   
   DP    7   
   PAC    5   
   ACDP    2   
   Total    398   

The last step was to distribute two unallocated seats, according to the highest average number of votes per allocated seats for each party, shown below in descending order:

 
IFP:    2,058,294 

 42 
= 49,007
 
ANC:    12,237,655 

 251 
= 48,756
 
PAC:    243,478 

 5 
= 48,696
 
NP:    3,983,690 

 82 
= 48,582
 
DP:    338,426 

 7 
= 48,347
 
FF-VF:    424,555 

 9 
= 47,173
 
ACDP:    88,104 

 2 
= 44,052

Since the IFP and the ANC had the highest averages, one seat was allocated to each of these parties. This operation completed the allocation of seats at the national level in the following manner:

   List    Seats   
   ANC    252   
   NP    82   
   IFP    43   
   FF-VF    9   
   DP    7   
   PAC    5   
   ACDP    2   
   Total    400   

At this point, the seats won by each party at the regional level were deducted from its nationwide seat allocation. For example, the 129 regional list seats won by the ANC were subtracted from its nationwide allocation of 252 seats, so the party was awarded 123 seats at the national level. All the PAC and ACDP seats were awarded at the national level, as neither party won regional seats.

Allocation of National Assembly Seats in the 1999 General Election

Under the 1996 constitution, the electoral system used to choose members of the National Assembly must result "in general, in proportional representation." A transitional arrangement inserted in the constitution provided for the retention of the existing electoral system for the 1999 general election only. As in 1994, a quota of votes per seat was calculated in each province to allocate the regional seats. In Gauteng province, which was assigned 46 seats, the sixteen parties contesting the election received a total of 3,708,318 votes. Therefore, the quota of votes per seat in the province was computed in the following manner:

   3,708,318 

 47 
+ 1 = 78,901

Each party was then assigned an initial number of seats, equal to the integer division of its vote in the region by the quota of votes per seat, as shown below for the top seven parties:

 
ANC:    2,527,676 

 78,901 
= 32;   Remainder: 2,844
 
DP:    655,883 

 78,901 
= 8;   Remainder: 24,675
 
NNP:    142,749 

 78,901 
= 1;   Remainder: 63,848
 
IFP:    131,296 

 78,901 
= 1;   Remainder: 52,395
 
UDM:    79,627 

 78,901 
= 1;   Remainder: 726
 
ACDP:    43,359 

 78,901 
= 0;   Remainder: 43,359
 
VF/FF:    40,782 

 78,901 
= 0;   Remainder: 40,782

The remaining twelve parties, whose regional vote totals ranged from a low of 1,146 to a high of 31,386, won no seats at this stage; their remainders were equal to their respective number of votes.

At this point, the allocation of seats in Gauteng province stood as follows:

   List    Seats   
   ANC    32   
   DP    8   
   NNP    1   
   IFP    1   
   UDM    1   
   Total    43   

However, three of the forty-six seats remained to be allocated. The largest remainders were then determined, by sorting them in descending order, with the top six shown below:

   List    Remainder   
   NNP    63,848   
   IFP    52,395   
   ACDP    43,359   
   VF/FF    40,782   
   FA    31,386   
   PAC    25,412   

(Remainders for the other ten parties ranged from a high of 24,675 to a low of 726.)

Since the NNP, the IFP and the ACDP had the three largest remainders, one seat was allocated to each of these parties. This operation completed the allocation of regional seats in Gauteng province in the following manner:

   List    Seats   
   ANC    32   
   DP    8   
   NNP    2   
   IFP    2   
   UDM    1   
   ACDP    1   
   Total    46   

The described procedure was repeated in each province. The seat distributions from all provinces were then aggregated at the national level, which produced the following allocation of regional list seats:

   List    Seats   
   ANC    139   
   DP    20   
   IFP    18   
   NNP    13   
   UDM    5   
   ACDP    3   
   UCDP    1   
   MF    1   
   Total    200   

To distribute the national list seats, the total number of votes cast across the nation was divided by the number of seats in the National Assembly, plus one. The result plus one produced the quota of votes per seat:

   15,977,142 

 401 
+ 1 = 39,844

Then, the nationwide vote total obtained by each party was divided by the quota of votes per seat, as shown below:

 
ANC:    10,601,330 

 39,844 
= 266;   Remainder: 2,826
 
DP:    1,527,337 

 39,844 
= 38;   Remainder: 13,265
 
IFP:    1,371,477 

 39,844 
= 34;   Remainder: 16,781
 
NNP:    1,098,215 

 39,844 
= 27;   Remainder: 22,427
 
UDM:    546,790 

 39,844 
= 13;   Remainder: 28,818
 
ACDP:    228,975 

 39,844 
= 5;   Remainder: 29,755
 
VF/FF:    127,217 

 39,844 
= 3;   Remainder: 7,685
 
UCDP:    125,280 

 39,844 
= 3;   Remainder: 5,748
 
PAC:    113,125 

 39,844 
= 2;   Remainder: 33,437
 
FA:    86,704 

 39,844 
= 2;   Remainder: 7,016
 
MF:    48,277 

 39,844 
= 1;   Remainder: 8,433
 
AEB:    46,292 

 39,844 
= 1;   Remainder: 6,448
 
AZAPO:    27,257 

 39,844 
= 0;   Remainder: 27,257
 
AITUP:    10,611 

 39,844 
= 0;   Remainder: 10,611
 
GPGP:    9,193 

 39,844 
= 0;   Remainder: 9,193
 
SOPA:    9,062 

 39,844 
= 0;   Remainder: 9,062

At this point, the allocation of National Assembly seats stood as follows:

   List    Seats   
   ANC    266   
   DP    38   
   IFP    34   
   NNP    27   
   UDM    13   
   ACDP    5   
   VF/FF    3   
   UCDP    3   
   PAC    2   
   FA    2   
   MF    1   
   AEB    1   
   Total    395   

However, five of the 400 seats remained to be allocated. The five largest remainders were then determined, by sorting them in descending order, as shown below:

   List    Remainder   
   PAC    33,437   
   ACDP    29,755   
   UDM    28,818   
   AZAPO    27,257   
   NNP    22,427   

(Remainders for the other eleven parties ranged from a high of 16,781 to a low of 2,826.)

Since the PAC, the ACDP, the UDM, the AZAPO and the NNP had the five largest remainders, one seat was allocated to each of these parties. This operation completed the allocation of seats at the national level in the following manner:

   List    Seats   
   ANC    266   
   DP    38   
   IFP    34   
   NNP    28   
   UDM    14   
   ACDP    6   
   VF/FF    3   
   UCDP    3   
   PAC    3   
   FA    2   
   MF    1   
   AEB    1   
   AZAPO    1   
   Total    400   

At this point, the seats won by each party at the regional level were deducted from its nationwide seat allocation. For example, the 139 regional list seats won by the ANC were subtracted from its nationwide allocation of 266 seats, so the party was awarded 127 seats at the national level. All the VF/FF, PAC, FA, AEB and AZAPO seats were awarded at the national level, since none of these parties won regional seats.

The Electoral Task Team and the Electoral Laws Amendment Bill of 2003

The 1996 constitution required Parliament to enact legislation to establish an electoral system for elections to the National Assembly (as well as the provincial legislatures) held after 1999. To that end, in 2002 the government appointed an Electoral Task Team (ETT), chaired by Dr. Frederik van Zyl Slabbert, the former leader of the Official Opposition in the whites-only Parliament. Opinion surveys conducted by the ETT showed a high level of satisfaction with the existing system, but also indicated that most voters wanted closer contact with elected officials.

In a report released in 2003, a majority of the ETT members recommended that 300 of the 400 seats of the National Assembly be filled in sixty-nine multi-member constituencies, each returning between three and seven MPs. The remaining 100 seats would be filled on a national list. Constituency boundaries would be drawn along existing provincial, municipal and metropolitan boundaries. The constituencies would be used for national as well as provincial elections.

Allocation of National Assembly Seats in the 2004 General Election

However, by 2003 it was no longer possible to implement the system proposed by the ETT in time for the 2004 general election. As a result, Parliament passed an Electoral Laws Amendment Act that retained the existing electoral system, thus following the recommendation presented by a minority of the ETT members. President Thabo Mbeki assented to the act on November 2, 2003.

As in 1999, a quota of votes per seat was calculated in each province to allocate the regional seats. In Gauteng province, which was assigned 45 seats, the twenty-one parties contesting the election received a total of 3,504,363 votes. Therefore, the quota of votes per seat in the province was computed in the following manner:

   3,504,363 

 46 
+ 1 = 76,182

Each party was then assigned an initial number of seats, equal to the integer division of its vote in the region by the quota of votes per seat, as shown below for the top seven parties:

 
ANC:    2,408,821 

 76,182 
= 31;   Remainder: 47,179
 
DA:    712,395 

 76,182 
= 9;   Remainder: 26,757
 
IFP:    92,556 

 76,182 
= 1;   Remainder: 16,374
 
ID:    60,501 

 76,182 
= 0;   Remainder: 60,501
 
ACDP:    56,520 

 76,182 
= 0;   Remainder: 56,520
 
VF Plus:    42,000 

 76,182 
= 0;   Remainder: 42,000
 
UDM:    35,499 

 76,182 
= 0;   Remainder: 35,499

The remaining fourteen parties, whose regional vote totals ranged from a low of 475 to a high of 28,524, won no seats at this stage; their remainders were equal to their respective number of votes.

At this point, the allocation of seats in Gauteng province stood as follows:

   List    Seats   
   ANC    31   
   DA    9   
   IFP    1   
   Total    41   

However, four of the forty-five seats remained to be allocated. The largest remainders were then determined, by sorting them in descending order, with the top five shown below:

   List    Remainder   
   ID    60,501   
   ACDP    56,520   
   ANC    47,179   
   VF Plus    42,000   
   UDM    35,499   

(Remainders for the other sixteen parties ranged from a high of 28,524 to a low of 475.)

Since the ID, the ACDP, the ANC and the VF Plus had the four largest remainders, one seat was allocated to each of these parties. This operation completed the allocation of regional seats in Gauteng province in the following manner:

   List    Seats   
   ANC    32   
   DA    9   
   IFP    1   
   ID    1   
   ACDP    1   
   VF Plus    1   
   Total    45   

The described procedure was repeated in each province. The seat distributions from all provinces were then aggregated at the national level, which produced the following allocation of regional list seats:

   List    Seats   
   ANC    146   
   DA    26   
   IFP    14   
   UDM    3   
   ID    3   
   ACDP    3   
   NNP    2   
   VF Plus    1   
   UCDP    1   
   MF    1   
   Total    200   

To distribute the national list seats, the total number of votes cast across the nation was divided by the number of seats in the National Assembly, plus one. The result plus one produced the quota of votes per seat:

   15,612,671 

 401 
+ 1 = 38,935

Then, the nationwide vote total obtained by each party was divided by the quota of votes per seat, as shown below:

 
ANC:    10,880,915 

 38,935 
= 279;   Remainder: 18,050
 
DA:    1,931,201 

 38,935 
= 49;   Remainder: 23,386
 
IFP:    1,088,664 

 38,935 
= 27;   Remainder: 37,419
 
UDM:    355,717 

 38,935 
= 9;   Remainder: 5,302
 
ID:    269,765 

 38,935 
= 6;   Remainder: 36,155
 
NNP:    257,824 

 38,935 
= 6;   Remainder: 24,214
 
ACDP:    250,272 

 38,935 
= 6;   Remainder: 16,662
 
VF Plus:    139,465 

 38,935 
= 3;   Remainder: 22,660
 
UCDP:    117,792 

 38,935 
= 3;   Remainder: 987
 
PAC:    113,512 

 38,935 
= 2;   Remainder: 35,642
 
MF:    55,267 

 38,935 
= 1;   Remainder: 16,332
 
AZAPO:    39,116 

 38,935 
= 1;   Remainder: 181
 
CDP:    17,619 

 38,935 
= 0;   Remainder: 17,619
 
NA:    15,804 

 38,935 
= 0;   Remainder: 15,804
 
P.J.C.:    15,187 

 38,935 
= 0;   Remainder: 15,187
 
SOPA:    14,853 

 38,935 
= 0;   Remainder: 14,853
 
NLP:    13,318 

 38,935 
= 0;   Remainder: 13,318
 
U.F.:    11,889 

 38,935 
= 0;   Remainder: 11,889
 
EMSA:    10,446 

 38,935 
= 0;   Remainder: 10,446
 
T.O.P.:    7,531 

 38,935 
= 0;   Remainder: 7,531
 
KISS:    6,514 

 38,935 
= 0;   Remainder: 6,514

At this point, the allocation of National Assembly seats stood as follows:

   List    Seats   
   ANC    279   
   DA    49   
   IFP    27   
   UDM    9   
   ID    6   
   NNP    6   
   ACDP    6   
   VF Plus    3   
   UCDP    3   
   PAC    2   
   MF    1   
   AZAPO    1   
   Total    392   

However, eight of the 400 seats remained to be allocated. The five largest remainders were then determined, by sorting them in descending order, as shown below:

   List    Remainder   
   IFP    37,419   
   ID    36,155   
   PAC    35,642   
   NNP    24,214   
   DA    23,386   

(Remainders for the other sixteen parties ranged from a high of 22,660 to a low of 181.)

Since the IFP, the ID, the PAC, the NNP and the DA had the five largest remainders, one seat was allocated to each of these parties. As a result, the allocation of National Assembly seats, first by whole quotas and then by the five largest remainders, stood as follows:

   List    Seats   
   ANC    279   
   DA    50   
   IFP    28   
   UDM    9   
   ID    7   
   NNP    7   
   ACDP    6   
   VF Plus    3   
   UCDP    3   
   PAC    3   
   MF    1   
   AZAPO    1   
   Total    397   

The last step was to distribute three unallocated seats, according to the highest average number of votes per allocated seats for each party, shown below in descending order:

 
MF:    55,267 

 1 
= 55,267
 
VF Plus:    139,465 

 3 
= 46,488
 
ACDP:    250,272 

 6 
= 41,712
 
UDM:    355,717 

 9 
= 39,524
 
UCDP:    117,792 

 3 
= 39,264
 
AZAPO:    39,116 

 1 
= 39,116
 
ANC:    10,880,915 

 279 
= 38,999
 
IFP:    1,088,664 

 28 
= 38,880
 
DA:    1,931,201 

 50 
= 38,624
 
ID:    269,765 

 7 
= 38,537
 
PAC:    113,512 

 3 
= 37,837
 
NNP:    257,824 

 7 
= 36,832

Since the MF, the VF Plus and the ACDP had the highest averages, one seat was allocated to each of these parties. This operation completed the allocation of seats at the national level in the following manner:

   List    Seats   
   ANC    279   
   DA    50   
   IFP    28   
   UDM    9   
   ID    7   
   NNP    7   
   ACDP    7   
   VF Plus    4   
   UCDP    3   
   PAC    3   
   MF    2   
   AZAPO    1   
   Total    400   

At this point, the seats won by each party at the regional level were deducted from its nationwide seat allocation. For example, the 146 regional list seats won by the ANC were subtracted from its nationwide allocation of 279 seats, so the party was awarded 133 seats at the national level. All the PAC and AZAPO seats were awarded at the national level, as neither party won regional seats.

Both the DA and the NNP submitted only regional lists, so the national list seats allocated to these parties (twenty-four for the DA and five for the NNP) were distributed among their respective regional lists in the same proportion as the proportion in which their regional seats were won.

For example, nine of the twenty-six regional list seats initially won by the DA were obtained in Gauteng province, so the party regional list in the province was awarded eight of the twenty-four DA national list seats. As a result, the distribution of regional list seats in Gauteng was adjusted in the following manner:

   List    Seats   
   ANC    32   
   DA    17   
   IFP    1   
   ID    1   
   ACDP    1   
   VF Plus    1   
   Total    53   

At the national level, the definitive allocation of National Assembly regional and national list seats in the 2004 general election was as follows:

   List       Seats   
        
  
         Regional       National   
   ANC       146       133   
   DA       50       0   
   IFP       14       14   
   UDM       3       6   
   ID       3       4   
   NNP       7       0   
   ACDP       3       4   
   VF Plus       1       3   
   UCDP       1       2   
   PAC       0       3   
   MF       1       1   
   AZAPO       0       1   
   Total       229       171   

Suggested Reading

1994 General Election Suggested Reading

Mandela, Nelson. Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela. Boston: Little, Brown, 1994.

Suzman, Helen. In No Uncertain Terms: A South African Memoir. New York: Knopf, 1993.

Thompson, Leonard Monteath. A History of South Africa. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001.


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Last update: August 24, 2010.