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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Opposition splinters into eleven parties

Dispatch Online Monday, June 7, 1999

JOHANNESBURG -- Up to 12 parties will be represented in South Africa's second democratic Parliament when it convenes for the swearing-in of MPs next week -- five more than the number of parties that won seats in the 1994 election.

Among the new and not-so-new faces on the opposition benches will be former Bophuthatswana strongman Lucas Mangope, the former leader of the Indian house in PW Botha's tricameral Parliament, Mr Amichand Rajbansi, and former rugby supremo and fertiliser king Louis Luyt.

Although more opposition parties are likely to be in Parliament this time round, the combined number of seats they will occupy will drop by about 15, reflecting the ANC's strong performance and the fragmented nature of opposition politics, analysts said.

With only a few thousand votes remaining to be counted late yesterday, the ANC had secured about 265 seats in the 400-seat National Assembly, the DP 38, the IFP 34, the NNP 27, the ACDP six, the Freedom Front three and the PAC two.

Parties who will be in Parliament for the first time are the Afrikaner Eenheidsbeweging (one seat), the Federal Alliance (two), the Minority Front (one), the United Christian Democratic Party (three) and the United Democratic Movement (14).

Roughly 40000 votes are needed to secure one seat in the National Assembly, but final seat allocations will be worked out according to a complicated formula taking into account votes cast for parties that did not secure any seats, as well as the number of votes cast for each party in every province.

Biggest winner is the DP, which has gained about 31 seats, the ANC, which has upped its total by about 13, and the ACDP, with four new seats.

The losers are the NNP, set to lose 50 seats, the IFP, down nine seats, the FF, with six fewer seats, and the PAC, which will lose three seats.

Mangope, who opposed the new Constitution and refused to the last to bring his Bophuthatswana homeland into the new dispensation, will now find himself leading the UCDP in the opposition benches -- but perhaps not for long.

He is appealing against a conviction and jail sentence on charges of fraud and theft, and if the appeal fails he will have to relinquish his seat in the National Assembly.

Luyt, whose Federal Alliance entered the election with a view to uniting all opposition parties in an alliance against the ANC, is likely to share a desk with Mr Kraai van Niekerk, the former National Party minister who is at number two on the FA's list.

Rajbansi has confirmed his status as South Africa's number-one political comeback kid.

Widely discredited after his role in the House of Delegates, he was not expected to gain more than a few votes outside of KwaZulu-Natal.

But he got just enough to ensure that he'll be back in Parliament. His party, the Minority Front, is likely to be represented in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature, too, where it may play a role in the coalition government.

A number of current MPs will be left out in the cold. More than 50 NNP MPs will be looking for new jobs, and although parties can still juggle their candidate lists to ensure that loyal stalwarts do not lose their seats, it seems certain some well-known NNP faces will move out of the public spotlight.

Another well-known face which may not be seen in Parliament again is that of PAC MP Patricia de Lille, who features on the party's province-to-national list in the Western Cape, where the PAC polled less than 0,5 percent.-- DDC

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.