NEWS

Motlanthe Panel: MPs Should Be Directly Elected, Not Appointed

A panel led by Kgalema Motlanthe says electoral reform is needed.

22/11/2017 07:45 SAST | Updated 22/11/2017 07:45 SAST
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Former president Kgalema Motlanthe speaks during the National Foundations Dialogue initiative on May 5, 2017, in Johannesburg.

A panel led by former president Kgalema Motlanthe has recommended that MPs should be directly elected and not appointed by their political parties, The Times reported on Wednesday.

The panel was reportedly established by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, two years ago to evaluate the socioeconomic effect of laws enacted since 1994. Its report was released on Tuesday.

Motlanthe's panel reportedly said that political parties were too powerful and could impede the holding of the executive to account in Parliament. The panel also said that traditional leaders were too powerful.

The legislature should "amend the Electoral Act to provide for an electoral system that makes MPs accountable to defined constituencies on a proportional representation and constituency system for national elections", the panel reportedly said.

The panel's recommendations are reportedly in line with that of the Frederik van Zyl Slabbert, that 50% of seats should be allocated to constituency MPs and 50% should be allocated to party-nominated MPs.

The panel also recommended that government should urgently fast-track its land expropriation programme, according to News24. All state-owned land in urban areas should be made available to build houses for the poor, the panel recommended.

"The lack of well-situated land for urban settlement remains a stark legacy of apartheid planning and discrimination.

"Well-situated state-owned land needs to be made available for housing for the poor, and well-situated privately owned land targeted for expropriation," the report said.

It did not recommend a constitutional amendment to speed up land reform.

Instead, the panel said: "Rather than recommend that the Constitution be changed, the panel recommends that the government should use its expropriation powers more boldly, in ways that test the meaning of the compensation provisions in Section 25(3), particularly in relation to land that is unutilised or underutilised."