South Africa, this is your new Parliament

A record number of 14 parties will take up the 400 seats in the National Assembly. (David Harrison/M&G)

A record number of 14 parties will take up the 400 seats in the National Assembly. (David Harrison/M&G)

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South Africa’s sixth Parliament will sit in a week, after an intensely fought election. A record number of 14 parties will take up the 400 seats in the National Assembly.

The previous high was 13 parties. With voters leaving the ANC and Democratic Alliance (DA), there is now space for new faces, to sit next to some faces that have been in Parliament for a long time.
The latter includes Inkatha Freedom Party’s (IFP) Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi. The nonagenarian will still hold a seat after his party changes its fortunes and grew in this election, from 10 seats to 14 seats.

Despite losing 19 seats, the ANC is still the dominant party in Parliament. It now has 230 seats. The DA has also dropped support, losing five seats. It now holds 84 seats. The Economic Freedom Fighters has been the big winner in terms of number of seats gained, growing from 25 to 44 and sending a whole host of new faces to Parliament.

More change will come from the Freedom Front Plus (FF+), which has grown from four to 10 seats in the National Assembly. The mainly white and Afrikaans-speaking party received more than double its previous support, after electioneering on removing affirmative action, doing away with an incompetent government and halting the possibility of expropriation without compensation. According to Netwerk24, Wynand Boshoff, the grandson of Hendrik Verwoerd — commonly known as the architect of apartheid — will be taking up a seat for FF+.

Newcomer parties that have made the cut to serve the country include former Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille’s GOOD party and the African Transformation Movement with two seats each. Al Jama-ah — which according to its website is a Muslim party — secured one seat.

The growth of these small parties, and of the FF+ and EFF, has meant fewer votes for other parties, and some parties not even making it to Parliament. Agang SA, which was established in 2013 by former anti-apartheid activist, Dr Mamphela Ramphele will not have a seat. Themba Godi — the chairperson of the standing committee on public accounts and head of the African People’s Convention — will, after 10 years, not return to Parliament.

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