PR councillor allocation system has to be changed – ANC

ANC's provincial secretary, William Bulwane, and newly elected Executive Mayor of the Mangaung Metro Municipality, Olly Mlamleli. PHOTO: KATLEHO MORAPELA

The ANC in the Free State Province says the proportional representation (PR) councillor allocation system has to be changed.
Half of any municipality’s council seats derives from the PR system, which is based on the number of votes a political party gets in an election. Speaking at a media briefing in Bloemfontein, ANC’s provincial secretary, William Bulwane, said they have been calling for the amendment of this system since 2007.
“This is what we have discussed in 2007 in Polokwane at the party’s national conference, this system must be changed. All smaller parties are gaining at the expense of the bigger parties. We have also reiterated the same issue at the Mangaung national conference in 2012, the system has to be changed. However, till this moment, it still exists. We are calling on those who are in government to revisit the Structure’s Act and look into that particular system. We want it to be changed so that it creates a true reflection of the true winners of elections.”
Meanwhile, ANC’s provincial chairperson, Ace Magashule, has been blaming the PR system for the fact that they are no longer controlling the Metsimaholo Municipality in Sasolburg.
“In terms of proportional representation, 41 000 people voted for the ANC and it was allocated three seats. The DA got 26 000 votes and in terms of the PR allocation, they received seven seats. The EFF, with 16 000 votes, received eight seats and Metsimaholo Civic Association had 4 400 votes and received two seats.”
Magashule said the people of Metsimaholo have voted for the ANC, as they control 16 of its wards. He also added that they will be embarking on a 100-day programme where the ANC will be interacting with communities, after the local elections’ results.
Furthermore, of the 23 newly elected mayors who are based across the province, the party has elected 13 female mayors. Among these 23 mayors, 5 have been said to be young.
Bulwane further mentions that the election of these mayors is to ascertain and enable the ANC to implement its radical socio-economic transformation.
“We are briefing the media about the mayors, speakers and chief whips of councils that we have elected on 15 August at an extended meeting in Parys. We decided to introduce them to the entire province so that they are known by our communities as they have been appointed by different councils. We can also call this a Know Your Mayor campaign,” explained Bulwane.
Magashule also mentioned that they tried to ensure that 50% of mayors retain their old positions after the 2016 Municipal Elections. Mayors who have been retained are from, among others, the Tokologo, Mafube, Thabo Mofutsanyana, Letsemeng, Nala and Maluti-a-Phofung Municipalities.
“Where the mayor of a certain municipality, like Dihlabeng, was not retained, it would be because that particular mayor, in most instances, had finished his two terms he was supposed to serve. This is in terms of the Local Government Act. Some of our mayors were on the party’s candidate list but in terms of performance, according to the PR councillor system, they couldn’t make it. Some of the mayors were on top of our list but they just couldn’t secure any positions. One of the mayors was number two on the list and we only got one PR seat from that particular municipality. In the end we had to make sure that we merge the party’s guidelines.” – Refilwe Gaeswe