National Assembly of South Africa
Overview
 
The National Assembly is the lower house
Lower house
A lower house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the upper house.Despite its official position "below" the upper house, in many legislatures worldwide the lower house has come to wield more power...

 of the Parliament of South Africa
Parliament of South Africa
The Parliament of South Africa is South Africa's legislature and under the country's current Constitution is composed of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces....

, located in Cape Town
Cape Town
Cape Town is the second-most populous city in South Africa, and the provincial capital and primate city of the Western Cape. As the seat of the National Parliament, it is also the legislative capital of the country. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality...

, Western Cape Province. It consists of no fewer than 350 and no more than 400 members. It is elected every five years using a party-list proportional representation
Proportional representation
Proportional representation is a concept in voting systems used to elect an assembly or council. PR means that the number of seats won by a party or group of candidates is proportionate to the number of votes received. For example, under a PR voting system if 30% of voters support a particular...

 system where half of the members are elected proportionally from 9 provincial lists and the remaining half from national lists so as to restore proportionality.

The National Assembly is presided over by a Speaker
Speaker of the South African National Assembly
The Speaker of the National Assembly presides over the National Assembly of South Africa, the lower house of the Parliament of South Africa. The speaker is chosen from among the Members of the Assembly at its first sitting following a general election and whenever the office is vacant...

, assisted by a Deputy Speaker.
Encyclopedia
The National Assembly is the lower house
Lower house
A lower house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the upper house.Despite its official position "below" the upper house, in many legislatures worldwide the lower house has come to wield more power...

 of the Parliament of South Africa
Parliament of South Africa
The Parliament of South Africa is South Africa's legislature and under the country's current Constitution is composed of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces....

, located in Cape Town
Cape Town
Cape Town is the second-most populous city in South Africa, and the provincial capital and primate city of the Western Cape. As the seat of the National Parliament, it is also the legislative capital of the country. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality...

, Western Cape Province. It consists of no fewer than 350 and no more than 400 members. It is elected every five years using a party-list proportional representation
Proportional representation
Proportional representation is a concept in voting systems used to elect an assembly or council. PR means that the number of seats won by a party or group of candidates is proportionate to the number of votes received. For example, under a PR voting system if 30% of voters support a particular...

 system where half of the members are elected proportionally from 9 provincial lists and the remaining half from national lists so as to restore proportionality.

The National Assembly is presided over by a Speaker
Speaker of the South African National Assembly
The Speaker of the National Assembly presides over the National Assembly of South Africa, the lower house of the Parliament of South Africa. The speaker is chosen from among the Members of the Assembly at its first sitting following a general election and whenever the office is vacant...

, assisted by a Deputy Speaker. The current Speaker is Max Sisulu
Max Sisulu
Max Sisulu is the current Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa. He was elected to the position on 6 May 2009, succeeding Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde and becoming the first male post-apartheid speaker of the National Assembly. He is also the first Black male to become speaker.He is a member...

 and the Deputy Speaker is Nomaindia Mfeketo
Nomaindia Mfeketo
Nomaindia Mfeketo is the current Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa. She was the mayor of Cape Town in South Africa in 2000 and again from 2002 to 2006....

; they were elected on 6 May 2009.

Allocation

The National Assembly seats are allocated using a proportional representation
Party-list proportional representation
Party-list proportional representation systems are a family of voting systems emphasizing proportional representation in elections in which multiple candidates are elected...

 system with closed list
Closed list
Closed list describes the variant of party-list proportional representation where voters can only vote for political parties as a whole and thus have no influence on the party-supplied order in which party candidates are elected...

s. Seats are first allocated according to the (integer part of the) Droop quota
Droop Quota
The Droop quota is the quota most commonly used in elections held under the Single Transferable Vote system. It is also sometimes used in elections held under the largest remainder method of party-list proportional representation . In an STV election the quota is the minimum number of votes a...

. Thereafter at most five seats are allocated using the largest remainder method
Largest remainder method
The largest remainder method is one way of allocating seats proportionally for representative assemblies with party list voting systems...

 (using the Droop quota). Any additional seats are allocated amongst the parties who then already have seats using the highest averages method
Highest averages method
The highest averages method is the name for a variety of ways to allocate seats proportionally for representative assemblies with party list voting systems....

.

Voters have one vote at elections to the National Assembly. Seats are allocated in ten multi-member constituencies via party lists. One constituency is a national or 'at large' constituency and nine others represent each of the nine provinces
Provinces of South Africa
South Africa is currently divided into nine provinces. On the eve of the 1994 general election, South Africa's former homelands, also known as Bantustans, were reintegrated and the four existing provinces were divided into nine. The twelfth, thirteenth and sixteenth amendments to the constitution...

. The lists were called the national lists and regional lists in the 2009 election. 'Regional' was used to avoid confusion with the provincial legislature elections held at the same time. Previously they were called 'National to National' and 'Provincial to National'. Parties decide whether they want to set up both national and provincial lists or only provincial lists. If all parties choose national lists then half of the members will come from the national 'at large' constituency and half from the nine provincial constituencies. If no party chooses a national list then all members will come from the nine provincial constituencies. In the 2009
South African general election, 2009
South Africa held national and provincial elections to elect a new National Assembly as well as the provincial legislature in each province on 22 April 2009....

 election one party chose not to use a national list resulting in 168 members being elected from the national constituency and 232 from the nine provincial constituencies.

History

The National Assembly was first elected in South Africa's first non-racial election in 1994
South African general election, 1994
The South African general election of 1994 was an election held in South Africa to mark the end of apartheid, therefore also the first held with universal adult suffrage. The election was conducted under the direction of the Independent Electoral Commission .Millions queued in lines over a three...

 with the African National Congress
African National Congress
The African National Congress is South Africa's governing Africanist political party, supported by its tripartite alliance with the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party , since the establishment of non-racial democracy in April 1994. It defines itself as a...

 (ANC) winning 252 of the 400 seats. The National Party
National Party (South Africa)
The National Party is a former political party in South Africa. Founded in 1914, it was the governing party of the country from 4 June 1948 until 9 May 1994. Members of the National Party were sometimes known as Nationalists or Nats. Its policies included apartheid, the establishment of a...

 (NP), the previous governing party, won 82 seats, and the Inkatha Freedom Party
Inkatha Freedom Party
The Inkatha Freedom Party is a political party in South Africa. Since its founding, it has been led by Mangosuthu Buthelezi. It is currently the fourth largest party in the National Assembly of South Africa.-History:...

 (IFP) won 43. Under the terms of the Interim Constitution this result entitled the NP and the IFP to take part in the Government of National Unity
Government of National Unity (South Africa)
Between April 27, 1994 and February 3, 1997 South Africa was governed under the terms of the interim Constitution of South Africa. Clause 88 of the interim Constitution required that any party holding twenty or more seats in the National Assembly could claim one or more cabinet portfolios and enter...

 alongside the ANC, and gave the ANC and NP the right to each nominated one Deputy President. The other parties represented in the assembly were the Freedom Front (9 seats), the Democratic Party
Democratic Party (South Africa)
The Democratic Party was the name of the South African political party now called the Democratic Alliance . Although the Democratic Party name dates from 1989, the party existed under other labels throughout the Apartheid years, when it was the Parliamentary opposition to the ruling National...

 (7 seats), the Pan Africanist Congress (5 seats), and the African Christian Democratic Party (2 seats).

In the election of 1999
South African general election, 1999
South Africa's second non-racial general election, held on 2 June 1999 was won by the African National Congress , who increased their number of seats by 14. Notable was the sharp decline of the New National Party, previously the National Party , who without former president F.W. de Klerk lost more...

, the ANC won 266 seats, one short of the two-thirds majority needed to unilaterally amend the constitution. The DP expanded its representation to become the official opposition with 38 seats, while the IFP won 34. The NP, now renamed the New National Party (NNP), dropped to 28 seats, and the newly-formed United Democratic Movement (UDM) won 14. Eight smaller parties also obtained seats in the assembly.

In the election of 2004
South African general election, 2004
Legislative elections were held in South Africa on Wednesday, 14 April 2004. The African National Congress of President Thabo Mbeki, which came to power after the end of the apartheid system in 1994, was re-elected with an increased majority....

 the ANC obtained 279 seats, gaining a two-thirds majority and the ability to change the constitution. The DP became the Democratic Alliance (DA) and remained the official opposition with 50 seats, while the IFP won 28 seats. The NNP was severely weakened, obtaining only 7 seats; the party was formally disbanded in 2005 with the majority of the party joining the ANC.

In the election 2009
South African general election, 2009
South Africa held national and provincial elections to elect a new National Assembly as well as the provincial legislature in each province on 22 April 2009....

 the ANC lost its two-thirds majority but remained the majority party with 264 seats. The DA increased its support to 67 seats, and the new Congress of the People (COPE) party, a breakaway from the ANC, obtained 30 seats. The IFP was reduced to 18 seats.

Election results

The last election was on 22 April 2009.

Current composition

|-style="background:#e9e9e9;"
!colspan="2" style="text-align:left"| Party !! Seats
|-
| || 264
|-
| || 67
|-
| || 30
|-
| || 18
|-
| || 4
|-
| || 4
|-
| || 4
|-
| || 3
|-
| || 2
|-
| || 1
|-
| || 1
|-
| || 1
|-
| || 1
|-style="background:#e9e9e9;"
|colspan="2" style="text-align:left"| Total || 400
|}

External links

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