The office of Anc Chief Whip, Mathole Motshekga, responded to the DA's proposal to have our electroral system changed. He reminded the DA of what happened when it pushed the floor crossing legislation which ended up working i favour of the Anc. Read his full statement:

Debate On Electoral Reform

The Office of the ANC Chief Whip notes the ongoing debate in the media in relation to South Africa's electoral system. This is not a new debate. At the heart of this media debate is whether a constituency or proportional representation system better serves democracy. Regrettably, those who have recently resuscitated this debate have entered into it from a narrow and populist perspective, and are guilty of deliberate distortion and overlooking the complexity of the subject of electoral reform.

A debate as critical to the future of our constitutional democracy as this requires those who advance it to do so responsibly, honestly and informatively. An impression has been created that a change of an electoral system is a panacea to the challenge of accountability which some believe our constitutional democracy currently faces. Some have even absurdly suggested that the current electoral system is undemocratic and unrepresentative, and therefore a solution lies in a different one. If one was to remove the noise, propaganda, lies and dishonesty from the debate on electoral reform, the naked reality remains that a different electoral system is no panacea.

The ANC adopted the current proportional representative (PR) system after 1994 because we wanted an inclusive system that is representative of minority views, in the interest of an inclusive transition. The PR system has facilitated representative institutions with a special focus on women, rural communities and other targeted groups such as people living with disabilities, the elderly and youth. The PR system is accommodative of even smaller parties, thereby ensuring participatory democracy. The ANC 50/50 gender representation policy, for instance, is made possible through the current system. The system allows for fair representation and gives a voice to all.

Those who have advocated for a change to the Constituency system have consistently ignored its associated disadvantages to representative and participatory democracy.

This system, in which parties and independents nominate candidates for each of 400 constituencies and the candidate who gets the most votes wins the seat, will result in the replacement of the current multiparty system with a two-party system. Contrary to the arguments of its proponents, it does not guarantee improved accountability. Improved accountability, which is a critical feature of democracy, is not dependent solely on an electoral system.

Ironically, proponents of the system change such as the DA have no constituency offices through which MPs regularly interact with communities, as required by Parliament. It is a common occurrence for DA MPs to stay away from oversight visits of portfolio committees taking place in rural villages and townships. They would rather interact through the media from the comfort of their air-conditioned offices than be visible amongst constituencies. Such kind of unaccountability cannot be addressed by a change in electoral system.

With over 260 offices spread across the country, the ANC continues to view constituency work as the backbone of its parliamentary programme.

Our reflection on this subject is neither intended to discourage the raging debate nor to demonstrate hostility to electoral reform, but to ensure honesty, openness and sincerity.

The ANC was previously pressured to accept the floor-crossing legislation, whose proponents in the opposition argued that it served our democracy. This was intended to dislodge the majority party and weaken it. When the legislation turned out to benefit the majority party more than those who campaigned for its enactment, they made a u-turn and demanded its withdrawal. The current debate on electoral reform smacks of the same motives. The agenda of those who advance this debate based on less than honourable motives shall collapse. Our people are not gullible.
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