DA efforts to add new MPLs to the Provincial Parliament halted due to budget constraints

The ANC and GOOD accused the DA of expanding the legislature purely to qualify for additional budget transfers





Mar 30, 2024

DA efforts to add new MPLs to the Provincial Parliament halted due to budget constraints

Plans to expand the Western Cape legislature have been halted due to severe budget cuts, with the DA-led government stating that the expansion will not take place before the upcoming general elections on 29 May. The legislature had been considering amending the provincial constitution to increase the number of seats, but budget constraints have led to a reevaluation of the plan.

Christopher Fry, DA MPL and chairperson of the Standing Committee on the Premier and Constitutional Matters, explained that while the expansion was supported by all parties, the financial implications were significant, with a near-doubling of the legislature's size required. Given the current financial environment and the need to prioritize spending on service delivery, caution is now being exercised regarding public spending.

The legislature currently has 42 members, representing the province's residents. A proposal to amend the provincial constitution was made to increase the number of seats based on population growth, with a maximum limit of 80 seats. However, this proposal is unlikely to pass into law before the upcoming elections.

Public participation on the matter had taken place, but ANC provincial caucus leader Cameron Dugmore criticized the DA for wasting money on public participation without bringing the matter back for discussion in the legislature. Dugmore argued that the failure to increase the legislature's size since 1994 undermines its oversight role.

This reflects prior efforts by the ANC to shut down public participation in the legislative process, as they did with the Provincial Powers Bill.

GOOD party general-secretary Brett Herron supported the decision to pause the expansion, suggesting that the DA's motive for expansion was to increase public funding. He claimed there was never a legitimate government need for expansion and viewed it as a means for the DA to receive more public funding.

more articles by this author