2014 national list for DA members of Parliament

Status Quo – Regional Lists

The Federal Council of the DA met in a special meeting on 1 September to decide on the proposal to introduce a National List into the structure of our representation in the National Assembly (members of parliament) for the 2014 general election. The Electoral Act 73 of 1998 provides two methods a political party may determine its representation to Parliament:

100% of seats won are allocated from 9 regional (provincial) lists
50% are allocated from 9 regional lists and 50% from 1 national list

Presently the DA’s Constitution and Candidate Nomination Regulations provide for the first option only, meaning the provinces where the DA does well have many MPs compared with those where the DA needs to improve. The table below provides a summary of the number of MPs in each province according to the most recent list of MPs available from NHO:

Province No. of MPs
Eastern Cape 7
Free State 6
Gauteng 22
KwaZulu-Natal 8
Limpopo 2
Mpumalanga 2
North West 2
Northern Cape 4
Western Cape 32

This breadown means that an MP in the Western Cape can have a constituency comprising a few municipal wards, while an MP in Limpopo will have several entire municipalities to cover. Given that MPs and MPLs are the leaders of our constituencies, the provinces where we have the most significant challenges are also the provinces where we are the most thin on the ground. The National List proposal seeks to allocate more seats to the smaller provinces such that they may more effectively tackle the electoral challenges ahead.

The New Approach – Introducing a National List
Federal Council voted in support of the concept of a national list with a very healthy majority on 1 September. However, the vote for the concept of a national list was only agreed to by the larger provinces strictly on the basis of it being tied to a system for populating that list called the “Western Cape Proposal”.

The system was constructed by Erik Marais and Tijmen van Essen and it has a purely mathematical basis – thus removing the scope for any subjective bias on where the MPs are to be allocated. Assuming a result of 30% in 2014 or 120 seats, contributed by the provinces in the same proportions as their result in the 2011 local government election, the system will draw 6 seats from Gauteng and 5 from the Western Cape and allocate them to:

Province No. of Additional MPs
Free State 3
Limpopo 2
Mpumalanga 1
North West 2
Northern Cape 3

The exact number of seats which will be allocated to each province will only be known after the election but the intended result is that the smaller provinces will be significantly supplemented at the expensive of relatively few seats to the Western Cape and Gauteng.

The Process – Congress, Regulations
This Federal Council decision paves the way for a constitutional amendment to be tabled at Federal Congress in November to provide for a National List, and amendments to the Candidate Nomination Regulations will be decided at the Federal Council meeting the day before Congress. The nomination process ahead of the 2014 election is due to start in the first quarter of 2013.

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