South Africa: 2003 National Assembly floor-crossing outcome

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 February 2011

The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Fourth Amendment Bill, 2002, passed into law in February 2003, permitted 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 were elected on political party lists. This could 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 June 1999 could, and did, switch party allegiances in 2003. The following table indicates the outcome of this activity in the National Assembly.

Party Seats in 199 election Seats in 2003 after crossing Net gain (+) or loss (-)
African National Congress 266 275 +9
Democratic Alliance 38 46 +8
Inkatha Freedom Party 34 31 -3
New National Party 28 20 -8
African Christian Democratic Party 6 7 +1
United Democratic Movement 14 4 -10
Freedom Front + 3 3 0
United Christian Democratic Party 3 3 0
Pan Africanist Congress of Azania 3 2 -1
Federal Alliance 2 2 0
Afrikaaner Unity Movement 1 0 -1
Minority Front 1 1 0
Azanian People's Organization 1 1 0
Independent Democrats 0 1 +1
Others 0 4 +4
Total 400 400 0

Table source

Booysen & Masterson 2009, 437.

References

BOOYSEN, S & MASTERSON, G 2009 "Chapter 11: South Africa" IN Denis Kadima and Susan Booysen (eds) Compendium of Elections in Southern Africa 1989-2009: 20 Years of Multiparty Democracy, EISA, Johannesburg.

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).

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