Electoral/Political Party Reform: Interim Constitution Accord

National Peace Accord of 1991, Article 1.3:

The fundamental rights and responsibilities derive from established democratic principles namely:

• democratic sovereignty derives from the people, whose right it is to elect their government and hold it accountable at the polls for its conduct of their affairs;

• the citizens must therefore be informed and aware that political parties and the media must be free to impart information and opinion;

• there should be an active civil society with different interest groups freely participating therein;

• political parties and organisations, as well as political leaders and other citizens, have an obligation to refrain from incitement to violence and hatred.

National Peace Accord of 1991, Article 2.2:

All political parties and organisations shall actively contribute to the creation of a climate of democratic tolerance by:

• publicly and repeatedly condemning political violence and encouraging among their followers an understanding of the importance of democratic pluralism and a culture of political tolerance; and

• acting positively, also vis-à-vis all public authorities including local and traditional authorities, to support the right of all political parties and organizations to have reasonable freedom of access to their members, supporters and other persons in rural and urban areas, whether they be housed on public or private property.

National Peace Accord of 1991, Article 2.3:

No political party or organisation or any official or representative of any such party, shall:

• kill, injure, apply violence to, intimidate or threaten any other person in connection with that person’s political beliefs, words, writings or actions;

• remove, disfigure, destroy, plagiarise or otherwise misrepresent any symbol or other material of any other political party or organisation;

• interfere with, obstruct or threaten any other person or group travelling to or from or intending to attend, any gathering for political purposes;

• seek to compel, by force or threat of force, any person to join any party or organisation, attend any meeting, make any contribution, resign from any post or
office, boycott any occasion or commercial activity or withhold his or her labour or fail to perform a lawful obligation; or

• obstruct or interfere with any official or representative of any other political party or organisation’s message to contact or address any group of people"

Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act 200 of 1993, Constitutional Principle, Schedule 4, Article VIII:

There shall be representative government embracing multi-party democracy, regular elections, universal adult suffrage, a common voters' roll, and, in general, proportional representation. 

Implementation History

1993

Intermediate Implementation

Prohibitions against political parties were lifted in 1990. Nevertheless, a legal framework on how political parties should be organized was yet to be decided.

On July 1, 1993, the government submitted a draft electoral bill to the negotiation forum, which put forth a proposal for the registration and participation of political parties. Home Affairs Minister, Danie Schutte, said that all political organizations intending to take part in the forthcoming elections should register as political parties.1

On November 17, 1993, 21 parties represented at the Negotiating Council ratified the country’s first democratic constitution. The key points of the agreement were:
- Elections next year for a coalition government to run for five years
- Interim constitution in force for the same period
- President and two vice-presidents appointed by parties getting more than 20 per cent of vote
- Cabinet appointed by parties with more than 5 per cent of vote
- 400-seat national assembly and 90-seat senate elected by proportional representation will adopt final constitution
- Nine new provinces with own legislatures
- A constitutional court will mediate between centre and provinces
- Bill of Rights to protect individuals from any discrimination

The white-dominated Parliament voted to approve a new democratic constitution on December 22, 1993. The vote tally was 247 to 45.2

In the constitution, the following provisions were made in respect to the Political Rights of the Citizen:

Chapter 3: Section: 21 Political rights (1) Every citizen shall have the right-
(a) to form, to participate in the activities of and to recruit members for a political party;
(b) to campaign for a political party or cause; and
(c) freely to make political choices.
(2) Every citizen shall have the right to vote, to do so in secret and to stand for election to public office.

A proportional electoral system was adopted.

  • 1. "SOUTH AFRICA; Draft bill submitted on registration of political parties," BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, July 2, 1993.
  • 2. "South Africa gets democratic constitution Parliamentarians of all races approve non-racial law while Afrikaners hold out for whites-only concessions," The Globe and Mail (Canada), December 23, 1993.
1994

Full Implementation

A proportional electoral system was adopted in 1993.

1995

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

1996

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

1997

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

1998

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

1999

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2000

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2001

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2002

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.