Gauteng legislature aims to increase its seats from 73 to 80

Gauteng legislature speaker Ntombi Mekgwe smiles as she leaves the house following the state of the province address in Johannesburg, 23 February 2015. Picture: Refilwe Modise

The Gauteng speaker has told the provincial legislature the Electoral Act has limitations and is unable to factor in population fluctuations.

Speaker of the Gauteng legislature Ntombi Mekgwe wants to give the 13 million residents of the province seven extra representatives in the provincial parliament.

Mekgwe, tabling the legislature budget in Johannesburg this morning, says to do this, the legislature will embark on a process to amend the Electoral Act.

“As at the year 2016 the population of Gauteng was estimated at around 13 million, and in terms of the formula in the constitution and Electoral Act, the Gauteng provincial legislature should have been entitled to the maximum of seats being 80 as per applicable legislation,” Mekgwe said.

Mekgwe told members of the provincial legislature the act had limitations “on the determination of the number of seats of the provincial legislature”, and that it did not make provision for instances where there were population increases.

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“The said provision is, therefore, inequitable, and disadvantages those provinces which have experienced an increase in their populations in that they do not have a scope to increase the number of their MPLs to correspond with the population increases,” Mekgwe elaborated.

She also said the amendment of the act may also benefit many other provincial legislatures whose population increased since the promulgation of the act in 1999.

The budget of the Gauteng legislature has increased from R649 million in the last financial year to R674 million in the current financial year, and more than R240 million will be allocated to core functions.

The legislature is also planning to upgrade the infrastructure of the “aged” Johannesburg City Hall with remedial work to the exterior of the building, replacement of chairs in the house chamber and rehabilitation of parts of the main building, to the tune of R300 million.



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