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Can electoral reform deepen democracy and increase accountability in South African government?

When: Wednesday, 14 August 2019 - Wednesday, 14 August 2019
Where: Braamfontein Campus East
Seminar Room, Humanities Graduate Centre, Southwest Engineering Building
Start time:18:30

The Department of Political Studies and the New Nation Movement are co-hosting a dialogue on electoral reform.

The national electoral system looms large in complaints about poor governance in South Africa.  For many critics, South Africa’s system of closed party-list proportional representation is responsible for overmighty party bosses, the absence of local representation, the insulation of MPs from public accountability and the exclusion of non-party independents. On the other hand, proportional representation arguably has advantages in terms of basic democratic fairness and inclusivity. Some critics of the current system seem inclined to ditch proportional representation in favour of representation exclusively via single-member geographic constituencies. Most electoral reformers favour a model that retains overall proportionality but incorporates either single-member or smaller multi-member constituencies. Mixed models may offer the best of both worlds. But as the experience of local government reminds us, mixed systems are not a panacea either. So what, if anything, can work? How much difference do electoral systems make?

One of the co-hosts, the New Nation movement, is arguing the case for electoral reform in an impending court case. The Department of Political Studies has agreed to join it in co-hosting a dialogue on electoral reform. The meeting will feature a discussion by a panel of activists and experts (TBC), followed by questions and answers.

Panelists include: Daryl Glaser (Wits Professor); Linda Gobodo (Civil society activist); Makhosi Khoza (Former MP); Omry Makgoale (Political analyst); Bulelani Mkhohliswa (New Nation Movement); Pansy Tlakula (Former IEC Chair).

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