South Africa: National Assembly floor-crossing outcome 2007

Additional note, 2009: Floor-crossing was abolished in January 2009 by means of the Constitution Fourteenth Amendment Act of 2008 and the Constitution Fifteenth Amendment Act of 2008, both of which were gazetted on 9 January 2009.

Updated September 2007

The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Fourth Amendment Bill, 2002, passed into law in February 2003, permits members of the National Assembly and of the nine Provincial Legislatures to switch their allegiance from one party to another, notwithstanding the fact that the members of these legislatures are elected on political party lists. This may only be done during certain periods and under specific conditions:

  • In order to cross the floor from one party to another (or to form a new party, or for two parties to merge) the person concerned, or group of people, must constitute at least 10% of the membership of the party that is being forsaken.
  • This floor-crossing may only take place during two periods of 15 days each: "from the first to the fifteenth day of September in the second year following the date of an election of the legislature" and "from the first to the fifteenth day of September in the fourth year following the date of an election of the legislature" (Government of South Africa 2002).

Accordingly, members of the various legislatures elected in April 2004 could, and did, switch party allegiances in September 2005 and again in September 2007. The following table indicates the outcome of this activity in the National Assembly.

Note: For the gains, losses and nett figures for September 2005 see National Assembly floor-crossing outcome 2005.

Party Seats
2004 [1]
Seats
2005 [2]
Seats
2007 [3]
Gain 2007
[3]
Loss 2007
[3]
Nett 2007
[3]
African National Congress 279 293 297 4 0 4
Democratic Alliance 50 47 47 0 0 0
Inkatha Freedom Party 28 23 23 0 0 0
United Democratic Movement 9 6 6 0 0 0
Independent Democrats 7 5 4 0 1 -1
New National Party 7 0 0 0 0 0
African Christian Democratic Party 7 4 4 0 0 0
Freedom Front + 4 4 4 0 0 0
United Christian Democratic Party 3 3 3 0 0 0
Pan Africanist Congress of Azania 3 3 1 0 2 -2
Minority Front 2 2 2 0 0 0
Azanian People's Organization 1 1 1 0 0 0
National Democratic Convention 0 4 4 0 0 0
United Independent Front 0 2 0 0 2 -2
Federation of Democrats 0 1 1 0 0 0
United Party of South Africa 0 1 0 0 1 -1
Progressive Independent Movement 0 1 0 0 1 -1
African People's Convention 0 0 2 2 0 2
National Alliance 0 0 1 1 0 1
Total 400 400 400 7 7 0

Table notes

[1] Adapted from IEC 2004.
[2] Adapted from PARLIAMENT OF SOUTH AFRICA 2005.
[2] Adapted from PARLIAMENT OF SOUTH AFRICA 2007.

References

CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF SA 1996, [www]http://www.gov.za/documents/constitution/Constitution-Republic-South-Africa-1996-1 [opens new window, incorporates all amendments until 13th Ammendment (2007)] Act No. 108 of 1996; 14-16 Amendments available at http://www.gov.za/documents/constitution-amendments [opens new window] (accessed 16 Jul 2016); approved by Constitutional Court December 4, 1996; took effect February 4, 1997; amended 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003 (accessed 26 Feb 2010).

IEC 2004 "National Assembly", Report on the National and Provincial Elections, 60, [www] http://www.elections.org.za/papers/143/iec.pdf [PDF document, opens new window] (accessed 26 Feb 2010)

PARLIAMENT OF SOUTH AFRICA 2005, "State of Parties after floor-crossing as at 15 September 2005", Library and Information Unit.

PARLIAMENT OF SOUTH AFRICA 2007, "State of Parties after floor-crossing as at 15 September 2007", Marina Griebenow, Senior Procedural Officer: Research and Parliamentary Practice.