Hours after voting was closed for the 2019 national elections, with an estimation of 65.47 percent of voter turnout and almost 41.53 percent of the votes counted at the time of writing. The results for the votes will be announced on 11th May (Saturday) afternoon by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

With that said, the question in mind is how are seats allocated in the National Assembly (NA). Before we get into the details of how a party acquires seats, we will get into how the parliament is structured.

The South African parliament is bicameral, which basically means it has two houses that are supported by a joint administration – the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces.

The National Assembly –  has 400 members, with the number of seats a party has depending on the number of voters that voted for said party in the national elections.

The National Council of Provinces – This has 90 provincial delegates, with 10 delegates for each of the nine provinces.

How are the seats allocated

According to constitutional law expert, professor Pierre de Vos, he estimates that each party needs to get around 40 000 to 45 000 votes to acquire one seat in the National Assembly.

The calculation is based on a complicated method using the Schedule 1A of the Electoral Act 73 of 1998 (PDF).

He further says that if a party does not get a minimum of 35 000 voters nationally, it does not get a seat in the NA, and the votes are essentially wasted.

We will have to wait until Saturday, when all the votes have been counted and the results are announced by the IEC, to find out precisely how many seats each of the parties will have. For now you can access their website to see many votes each party has received thus far.

[Image – Parliament]