oa Africa Insight - The Qwaqwa general election of 1975

Volume 5, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0256-2804



Qwaqwa, the smallest Black homeland in South Africa with its 45 000 ha and a population of about 1,7 million living mostly outside the homeland, held its first general election in March 1975. The fact that under favourable conditions the homeland can accommodate only a fraction of its citizens raises a number of practical questions regarding the policy of separate development. The smallness of the territory also led to the adoption of an electoral system with a single list for all twenty vacancies in the legislative assembly. The result was that the victorious party won 19 out of the 20 seats. Alternative electoral systems can be considered in order to obtain proportionate representation of minority parties and groups. The majority of the members of the legislative assembly (viz. 40) are nominated by two tribal authorities in the homeland, representing the Batlokwa and Moplei (or Kwena) tribes respectively. The tribal division made a major contribution towards the formation of political parties prior to the election, and to the outcome of the election of a chief minister.

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