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IEC: Changing SA electoral system will cost country

IEC chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo said that any change to this system would be solely up to Parliament.

FILE: IEC CEO Sy Mamabolo at the IEC Code of Conduct pledge ceremony on 20 March 2019. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The IEC has warned that changing the electoral system would have massive financial implications for the nation.

But its top officials agreed that Parliament was best placed to deal with the question of how we elect our representatives.

The IEC briefed the Home Affairs portfolio committee on Tuesday, where it gave MPs different options on the best electoral system.

This followed recommendations from a high-level panel assessing key legislation and an electoral task team that had both recommended changes to the electoral system.

The Constitution, as it stands, confined South Africa to a system of proportional representation in general.

The two options for South Africa's electoral system was leaving it unchanged or changing it to a multi-member constituency-based system.

But IEC chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo said that any change to this system would be solely up to Parliament.

"In conclusion, vice-chair and deputy minister and the chair of the committee, the commission's position is that Parliament, as the representative body of all the people, is eminently placed to determine an electoral system. That determination squarely rests with Parliament. But the electoral commission has a natural interest."

He added, however, that the adoption of a new system that was fundamentally dissimilar to the current system would have huge financial implications.