The South African Local Government Association (SALGA) presented the status and progress of the 50/50 campaign in terms of female political representation at local government level. South Africa will be holding its local government elections on 3 August 2016 and it is an opportune time to improve on gender representation at this level.
According to the Parliamentary Research Unit, women are most affected by service delivery and thus their engagement with local government is an excellent indicator of whether the legislative gains in gender equality have resulted in an improved lived-reality for most women.
During the election period, registered political parties are invited to submit candidate lists to the Electoral Commission. Parties draw up their lists of candidates after party list conferences or discussions within the party. Proportional Representation (PR) candidates must be nominated by a registered party and any registered voter in a municipality may stand for election as a ward councillor in that municipality.
Between 1994 and 2014, great strides have been made in increasing the representation of women at the various levels of government. The status report by SALGA showed the following:
Women make up the majority of the population in all provinces, with the exception of the North West (49%) and Gauteng (49.6%)
Best performing provinces on the PR list are Mpumalanga (52%) and North West (48%), while the Western Cape was the worst performing province with 37% female representation
At Ward level gender representation is far lower with KwaZulu-Natal (18%), Free State (31%) and the Western Cape (33%) showing the lowest female representation
All provinces fall short of ensuring that their local government representation reflects the gender break down of their province with KZN (-18%) showing the highest difference between the female population and representation at local government level in the province
See infographic below for more on female representation at local government level: