Former President Nelson Mandela implored his countrymen tobuild a "."South Africa has a a very diverse population and a multiculturalsociety. Scholars surmise that ""-- defined as "the odds that any two persons will differin their race, religion, ethnicity (tribe), or langauge"-- poses challenge to democracy, because it makes political compromiseand accommodation more difficult. South Africa's multiculturalismindex is 87 -- surpassed only by such diverse nations as Indiaand Nigeria. According to the most recent (1996) census figures,76.7% of the population are Black / African, 10.9% are White,8.9% are Colored (mixed race), and 2.6 % are Asian / Indian. Thereare eleven official languages. The same census shows that thefive most commonly-spoken languages at home are IsiZulu (22.9%of population), IsiXhosa (17.9%), Afrikaans (14.4%), Sepedi (9.2%)and English (8.6%).
In 2009, then Constitutional Court Judge Kate O’Regan asked in a paper about justice and reconciliation what the implications were “of the arrest and imprisonment of so many South Africans for deeply unjust reasons over so many years for our modern attempt to establish a shared conception of justice in a constitutional democracy founded on the rule of law?”
Assessing How Far Democracy in South Africa is Liberal …
Britain's Representative Democracy, the Westminster system is described as an FPTP (First-past-the-post) system. It is an old system but, as with all representative democracies, it still struggles with representation. South Africa predicted representation problems with FPTP and turned to PR in 1994. It was predicted at CODESA that should the Westminster system continue then whites would likely be under-represented nationally because in most areas they would be out-numbered. In total whites would be represented 1 to 6 in national government as they do in reality. In this light, CODESA decided that the citizens would vote for a party on a national level and the party would allocate the Member of Parliament seats afterwards based on national proportions (the Proportional Representation system).
History: South Africa’s Road To Democracy (1990-1994) …
Since 1994 South Africa instituted a major democratic principle - one man one vote. However, because of potential racial representation issues, South Africa steered towards greater party power by choosing a PR (Proportional Representation) system. This has led the country away from grass-roots representation.
Bantu Education - South Africa: Overcoming Apartheid
Nevertheless, South Africa has a , with a federal system, a popularly elected president,a , a National Assembly (the lower or people house ofthe Parliament) whose 400 representatives are elected by a partylist system -- a form of proportional representation (PR) systemas opposed to the single-member district system (SMD) as seenin the U.S. After the , the ruling party, the ANC (African National Congress),now controls two-thirds majority in the legislature. In 2000,the two major "white" parties -- the DP (DemocraticParty) and the NNP (New National Party), who is the much diminisheddescendant of the old National Party -- are undergoing a processof realignment that will probably result in the absorption ofthe NNP into the DP. The other major black party, the IFP (InkathaFreedom Party), is particularly strong in KwaZulu-Natal and controls34 seats.
Where We Work | U.S. Agency for International Development
This move of CODESA was not surprising since PR systems are becoming popular world-wide. This is because in such systems parliamentary seats are proportionally accurate when compared to national figures. The proportional anomalies of the FPTP system are eliminated making it easier for small parties to enter the arena fairly.10 Parties can claim '' representation in parliament giving them a sense of legitimacy. However, because parties now allocate the MP seats it is a system that is more prone to corruption - parties invariably choose their favourites over community favourites. At its worst, practical representation is completely lost. This is a most dangerous affair because a party's claim to be legitimately and indisputably representative is tragically only numerical in parliament. Such is the exuberant sentiment of South Africa's 'new-found' democracy - oblivious to the lack of actual representation on the ground - the MP's constituency link is gone! This political flaw is easily tested - simply ask any member of the public whether they know who their MP is.