Winds of Change for the SA Electoral System

Description: In June 2020, the Constitutional Court ruled that parts of the Electoral Act in South Africa were undemocratic, as the Act forced individuals to join political parties should they wish to run for public office.

The Electoral Act therefore limited the rights of independent candidates as enshrined in the Constitution. This imbalance has now been corrected, and individual candidates may now contest both provincial and national elections.

This potentially has far-reaching consequences for South Africa, where new political parties have struggled to gain traction against the established parties, with whom frustrations continue to rise as public needs fail to be met.

In this panel discussion, the speakers will discuss how democracy in South Africa is maturing; they will encourage the private sector to consider investing in election campaigns of credible and competent candidates, specifically women; and will explore possible lessons from the other SADC Member countries who are using or have used proportional representation and gender equality to comply with UN requirements.

Moderated by Isabella Matambanadzo, an international feminist consultant, writer and researcher, the panel will consist of Nomkhitha Gysman, a researcher, analyst and women's rights advocate; Ts'epang Ts'ita-Mosena, Deputy Leader of MEC Party in Lesotho, which has recently joined government; and Thapelo Tselapedi, a political science scholar at Rhodes University.

This event is free, but registration is essential. Zoom links will be sent out in the 24 hrs before the event.

Speaker Profiles:

Isabella Matambanadzo has worked as a journalist local, regional and international news media outlets including the SADC Press Trust, publishers of The Southern African Economist, for Reuters News Agency's Africa Journal and for Inter Press Service's Africa regional bureau.  She has served as team-leader of women's rights and gender equality organisations and initiatives in Zimbabwe and elsewhere. She designed Action Aid International's Guidance Framework for Working with Women's Rights Organisations. The tool addresses power dynamics and accountability between the International Non-Governmental Organisation and their implementing partners operating at the community/country level.  As an author she has contributed to numerous publications.

Nomkhitha Gysman is a black African feminist; a researcher, analyst, advocate for women's rights, training materials developer and workshop facilitator.  For the last 6 years (2014 - 2020) she served as the Head of Gender of the SADC Parliament, posted by the South African Parliament, where she worked with female parliamentarians from the 14 Parliaments of the SADC Region affiliated to SADC Parliament.  She has published in academic journals and some of SA's national newspapers, and has been invited several times to comment on various topical gender equality and women empowerment issues.  She is currently documenting stories and experiences of female military veterans from the SADC Member States with Wits University Press.

Ts'epang Matlhohonolofatso Ts'ita-Mosena is a black African Transformation Agent; a young woman politician, media practitioner, and advocate for women's rights. She is a seasoned motivator, trainer and business coach with her partner under the Twin Talk Brand.  Her areas of specialization are Women and Youth Empowerment, Entrepreneurs & Businesses Coaching, Unleashing the Potential Within and Personal Mentorship.  She also does Strategic Planning, Project Management and Business Planning.  As a politician, the areas of focus for Ms Mosena are on the economic growth of Lesotho and SADC as a region. She has sponsored a number of motions in line with economic emancipation and gets invited on many platforms to address burning issues with a political bearing to influence policy direction, particularly for the economy.

After a stint in the civil society sector, Thapelo Tsalapedi decided to pursue his academic interests where he became a lecturer at the University of Johannesburg and currently at Rhodes University, where he teaches political theory while reading for his PhD which focuses on International Political Economy (IPE) and the BRICS/IBSA nexus. In 2017 UJ named him top 100 independent thinker in the country, published by the Sunday Independent.  Tsalapedi also provides political commentary on a number of media outlets concerning South African politics. He has written a number of articles concerning public debates, ranging from research reports, newspaper and blog articles, and academic papers. He regularly writes for The Conversation.   He is a board member on The Legal Advisory and Information Centre (LAIC), a public interest law clinic based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Date:  11:00am to 12:00pm, Thu 26th Nov 2020
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Hosted by:  Zoom

Contact: Email:  Contact organiser

Ticket price:Free

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