Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni
Premium Journalist
2 minute read
5 May 2021
11:43 am

Here’s what SA voters want, according to a new survey

Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni

It appears South African voters relate more to individuals than political party identities.

Voters queue at dawn at a voting station in Saulsville, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles.

Most voters want candidates who come from their home town. They also want more independent candidates at the  national and provincial levels. This according to a new report by the Inclusive Society Institute (ISI).

As parties kick off their campaigns for the local government elections later this year, data collected by ISI singles out what voters really want now that the electoral system has come under judicial scrutiny.

Notable among the findings is the vast majority (89%) of voters support the Constitutional Court ruling that independent candidates should be allowed to stand for election to the national and provincial legislatures. The ruling essentially made the current electoral system unconstitutional.

It appears South African voters relate more to individuals than political party identities. According to the report, 75% of voters want to cast their ballots in favour of local candidates who would represent their specific geographic areas.

It further found that 85% of the respondents were of the view that by electing local representatives accountable to specific constituencies, it would result in greater accountability by those representatives.

Also Read: Constitutional Court rules Electoral Act unconstitutional 

The report also found that two thirds of voters wish to retain proportional representation in the legislatures. That means that any electoral system, such as first past the post, that does not allow for a compensatory list to ensure overall party proportionality in Parliament, should be rejected, according to the institution’s interpretation.

South Africa’s electoral system is based on party-list proportional representation, meaning that parties are represented in proportion to how many votes they get. For municipal councils there is a mixed member system in which wards elect individual councillors alongside those named from party lists

Earlier this year, Congress of the People presented its proposed private member’s bill aimed at amending Electoral Act to allow for independent candidates to stand in provincial and national elections. The Concourt gave Parliament two years to amend the Electoral Act to that end.

Simnikiweh@citizen.co.za