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Will Cyril Ramaphosa be next South African president?

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By News24


WHILE negotiations are underway to form a new government, News24 took a look at what the Constitution says are the next steps that must take place after the election results are announced in electing the president and premiers.

The laws for the national executive and the provincial executive are very similar.

With 97.84% of the votes captured on Saturday morning, the ANC stood at 40.12% of the national vote. With the ANC losing its majority, the party will be forced to form a coalition government.

While negotiations are underway to form a new government, News24 took a look at what the Constitution says are the next steps that must take place after the election results are announced.

First sitting of the National Assembly

According to Section 51.1 of the Constitution, after the results are announced the first sitting of the National Assembly must take place at a time and on a date determined by the president of the Constitutional Court, but not more than 14 days after the election result has been declared.

If, for any reason, the result of the election is not declared in terms of Section 190, or if a court sets aside the election, the current president under Section 49 (3), “by proclamation, must call and set dates for another election, which must be held within 90 days of the expiry of that period or of the date on which the election was set aside”.

At the first sitting of the National Assembly under Section 86.1, after the election, members of Parliament must elect a woman or man from the National Assembly to be the president. This means any member of Parliament can be elected to be the country’s next president.

Section 91.2 gives the power to the president to appoint the deputy president and ministers and assign them powers and functions. The president is also given the right to dismiss them.

Does this mean that the country is currently without a Cabinet while the election results are being finalised? No. Section 94 of the Constitution says that when an election of the National Assembly is held, the Cabinet, the deputy president, ministers and any deputy ministers remain competent to function until the person elected president by the next assembly assumes office.

What does the Constitution say with regards to the provinces?

The legalities for the national and provincial levels are very similar.

Under Section 108.3, if the result of an election of a provincial legislature is not declared within the period referred to in Section 190, or if an election is set aside by a court, the president, by proclamation, must call and set dates for another election, which must be held within 90 days of the expiry of that period or of the date on which the election was set aside.

When is the first sitting of a provincial legislature? 

According to Section 110.1, the first sitting of a provincial legislature must take place at a time and on a date determined by a judge designated by the president of the Constitutional Court, but not more than 14 days after the election result has been declared.

When does the election of a premier happen?  

Under Section 128.1 of the Constitution, a provincial legislature must elect a woman or a man from among its members to be the premier of the province at its first sitting.

In a similar vein to how Cabinet continues to operate under a new president is chosen, the executive council and its members remain competent to function until the person elected premier by the next legislature assumes office following an election under Section 134 of the Constitution.

Election Procedures for electing the President and Premiers

Schedule 3 Part A of the Constitution states the person presiding over the National Assembly or in the provincial legislatures calls for the nomination of candidates.

With regards to the nomination of the president, the nomination form must be signed by two members of the National Assembly. In the provincial legislature, the form must be signed by two members from the legislature.

The nominated person must indicate acceptance by signing the form. Thereafter the names must be announced but no debate is permitted.

If only a single candidate is nominated that person, that person must be declared elected.

It gets more interesting if more than one candidate is nominated.

A vote must be taken at the meeting, by secret ballot; in which each member present may cast one vote.

The candidate who receives a majority of the votes is elected. What happens if no candidate receives a majority of the votes?

The candidate who receives the lowest number of votes must be eliminated. A further vote is taken on the remaining candidates until a candidate with a clear majority emerges.

If, for example the second and third ranked candidates have an equal number of votes, a separate vote must be taken on those candidates, and the one with the lower number of votes is eliminated. A contest between that candidate and the candidate with the greatest number of votes is held until one emerges with the majority.

If only two candidates are nominated, or only two candidates remain after the elimination round, and they receive the same number of votes, another meeting must be held within seven days.

If this happens, the same process is applied again as the first meeting.