Gender experts decry deteriorating gender parity in Parliament

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Gender experts say it is disappointing that gender parity in Parliament is deteriorating. On Thursday, Chief Justice Raymond Zondo handed over the final party lists to the Secretary to Parliament, Xolile George.

The African National Congress (ANC) has always been leading the pack with a so-called zebra list, where a mix of genders is submitted for parliament. Commentators say the party has once again got it right, followed by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

But a gender rights activist at the WISE advocacy group, Advocate Brenda Madumise says the DA is one of the well-established parties that was not on target.

Among the new parties that struck a perfect balance was the Patriotic Alliance that has allocated two of its four seats to women.

Madumise says the Umkhonto weSizwe party’s gender allocation leaves much to be desired.

Parliament’s Secretary, Xolile George says officially, gender parity for the seventh democratic parliament is at 43,5%, down from 45,6% in the previous term.

“The ANC is only party with voluntary party quota with 50% for women. Also have a zebra list which means every second name is women. It starts from 10, lost 76 seats, now at 159 seats. This means loss of nearly 20% women, only 79 of those seats will be filled by women,” says Professor Amanda Gouws, Stellenbosch University.

Video: IEC Lists Handover – Electoral Commission presents lists of MPs and MPLs to Chief Justice Zondo

All eyes are now on the imminent announcement of the date for the first sitting of the National Assembly to elect a Speaker, Deputy Speaker and the President.

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