By nkulande on Nov 9, 2010 in Uncategorized
South Africa is an interesting case and I am going to tell you the wonders of elections in my country.
Did you know that South Africa was the last country in the world to gain its independence? Before 1994, South Africa was under the rule of Apartheid (legal racial system enforced by the National Party).
The country was divided based on racial and ethnic lines (in the homelands). It had four provinces (Cape Province, Natal, Northern Transvaal, Southern Transvaal and Orange Free State). In addition to the four provinces, there were homelands (Transkei, Ciskei, Venda, Bophuthatswana, KwaZulu, Lebowa, Qwaqwa. KwaNdebele, KwaNgwane and GazanKulu). The homelands were dominated by specific ethnic groups while the provinces were diverse but structured along race lines. During the Apartheid period, only the white minority was allowed to vote in elections but in 1994 every race (previously advantaged and previously disadvantaged) were allowed to vote in free and fair elections.
In 1994, South Africa became a democratic country and the former homelands were integrated into the new South Africa which resulted in nine provinces total, i.e. Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Free State, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape and North West.
Elections in South Africa take place on national, provincial, and local levels. South Africa is a multi-party democracy with the African National Congress in power with a significant majority since 1994. Although South Africa’s democracy is rated as flawed in the Democracy Index survey conducted by the Economist, its score for electoral process is the same as that of the United States and Japan. A system of proportional representation incorporating party lists is in place, which makes it possible for small parties to achieve representation in parliament.
Parliament has two chambers, and elects the president. The National Assembly has 400 members, elected for a five year term. The National Council of Provinces has 90 members, each elected for a five year term by the provincial parliaments. The National Assembly and Provincial Councils are elected when General Elections are held. Members of the local governing councils in the municipalities and mayors are elected in municipal elections.