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Idea of increasing seats in the Western Cape legislature being explored

The formation of the committee came to light through a draft resolution sponsored by the outgoing chief whip Mireille Wenger (DA) calling on the legislature to appoint the ad-hoc committee. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

The formation of the committee came to light through a draft resolution sponsored by the outgoing chief whip Mireille Wenger (DA) calling on the legislature to appoint the ad-hoc committee. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Published May 16, 2022

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Cape Town - Members of the provincial legislature will soon be seeking the opinion of the voting public for advice on whether the current 42 MPLs are sufficient to represent the people of the Western Cape or if they should have a few more seats added.

An ad hoc committee made up of 15 members representing all the political parties in the legislature has been set up to investigate the matter following a meeting two weeks ago of a “speaker’s consultative political party forum” called by speaker Masizole Mnqasela.

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The formation of the committee came to light through a draft resolution sponsored by the outgoing chief whip Mireille Wenger (DA) calling on the legislature to appoint the ad-hoc committee.

The job of the committee will be to investigate and report on: “The appropriateness of the number of seats allocated to the Western Cape Provincial Legislature more than 20 years ago, given the population growth and the movement of people across provinces.”

Last week, all of the parties represented in the legislature unanimously voted in favour of the establishment of the committee.

Wenger said: “While we wait for the census results, population estimates place the number of inhabitants currently in the province at 7.1 million.”

She said that was almost double the number of inhabitants served by the same number of public representatives in 1996, when the population of the province stood at 3.9 million.

Provincial ANC deputy whip Khalid Sayed, who will be joined by ANC chief whip Pat Lekker on the ad hoc committee, said the exercise was about strengthening democracy.

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EFF MPL Melikhaya Xego said: “The proposal to form this committee is from the DA, but the EFF has no objection in participating on it since we are allocated a single slot to participate.”

Freedom Front Plus MPL Peter Marais said: “The Western Cape has once more become the Cape of Good Hope for destitute job-seekers from all over South Africa. This huge inflow of economic refugees has substantially increased the workload and responsibilities of the 42 members of the legislature.”

GOOD Party MPL Shaun August said the party would make itself available to work with the committee.

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