Now that the elections are behind us and the South African parliament, with all of its new complexities, has begun its work in earnest, you might be asking yourself what the average member of parliament (MP) actually does for the time that they sit in office.

Us too. But fortunately, someone else has already asked and then dug up the answer by collating diary records of MPs for the last five calendar years. Those someones are The People’s Assembly – an excellent open source monitor for all things government if you haven’t come across it before – and data activists at Code4SA.

The infographic produced shows the differences in the time allocation for members of the national assembly and national council of provinces but most importantly, we feel, it shows how the average amount of days spent doing their jobs has increased since 2009.

Perhaps the most striking figure is the very first one – the amount of time MPs spend in constituency offices. We were under the clearly misguided notion that MPs tended to ignore constituency work, but it turns out they’re logging an awful lot of time doing it. Whether those two statements are necessarily contradictory, we’d love to hear your thoughts.

The full breakdown is below.

MP Calendar Infographic

[Source – People’s Assembly, Image (original) – Kaihsu Tai CC BY-SA 3.0]