Eighteen political parties will be represented in Parliament – SABC News

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Eighteen political parties will be represented in the seventh democratic Parliament. This is an increase of four, compared to the previous Parliament of those 18, seven parties are new to the National Legislature.

Fifty two political parties, and six independent candidates contested the national election.

The administration of Parliament has been working since last year, to prepare for the new legislature. But what does this increase in parties at the institution, bode for democracy and the running of the institution?

“The challenge is that the conception of political pluralism, it does create a scope for fragmentation because now we have a shopping list of political parties, we’ve got a plethora of parties. But also, others they see this diversity of political parties as a way of making our democracy to flourish, because then it means you have a multiplicity of voices,” says Dr Ntsikelelo Breakfast, Nelson Mandela University, Dept. of History and Political Science.

“The key part where I am really keen to see and am interested in the new parties is that there are new people. New people have entered the political system, or haven’t been in politics before, and those people have the potential to impact our politics for good hopefully, and we need more and more people to gain experience in the political system,” says Asanda Ngoasheng, a Political Analyst.

Meanwhile, the changes at Parliament are not only political. From an administrative point of view, there is also work to be done. Parliament says the increase in political representation, doesn’t make a difference because there are still only 400 seats in the National Assembly. So, things like allocating offices, and residential accommodation won’t be a problem.

“But of course there will be some changes here and there because of the seating arrangements in the house. Because now we have got the additional parties that are coming to parliament. Of course, in terms of allocation of speaking times the principle is the same, it follows proportional representation. In terms of allocation of members to committees as well it follows the same system. Small amendments to make sure we reflect truly the will and the votes of the people who have elected these parties into parliament,” says Moloto Mothapo, Parliamentary Spokesperson.

Mothapo says with the help of political party leaders, MP’s, Chief Whips, and the Presiding Officers of Parliament, preparation for the seventh term started last year already.

He says they were all instrumental in ensuring Parliament would be ready to welcome the new members.

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