How seats in the National Assembly will be allocated after all the votes are counted

 ·31 May 2024

With South Africans’ eyes glued on the Electoral Commission’s (IEC’s) Results Operations Centre as results from the counting of votes trickle in from across the country, people have been left wondering how representation will be determined when all is said and done.

Using information provided by the IEC, the seats will be calculated as follows:

National Assembly

In all national elections from 1994 to 2019, the 400 seats of the National Assembly (NA) were split proportionally among political parties.

Simply put, if a party got 50% of the national vote, they would get 200 seats in the NA.

However, following the latest electoral reforms allowing independent candidates to contest elections, seat determinations are now made up of two parts:

  • Regional list seats (200);
  • National Proportional list (compensatory) seats (200).

Allocation to Political Parties and Independent Candidates:

  • Independent candidates are allowed to contest only for the 200 regional seats.
  • Political parties can contest for both the 200 regional seats and the remaining 200 compensatory seats.

Regional List Seats – Independents and Parties

The 200 regional list seats are determined for each region using a quota. This is based on the number of seats allocated to the region and the valid votes cast on the regional ballot.

According to the IEC, the regional seat allocation is:

Source: IEC

The quota is determined by the total valid votes cast in that region, divided by the total regional seats, plus one.

An example of how the regional list quota calculation would work. Source: IEC

Then, the regional seats are determined by dividing the valid votes for the party/independent by the determined quota.

The remaining seat/s are allocated to the highest remainder after first allocation of seats.

An example of how the regional seat allocations would work. Source: IEC

National Proportional List Seats – Parties Only

The 200 national list (compensatory) seats contested by parties only are calculated as follows:

First, the quota would be calculated. This would be done by taking the total valid votes for political parties on the national plus the regional ballots (N + R).

This is then divided by the total number of seats in the National Assembly (400), plus one 1, minus the already determined independent seats.

An example of how the national list quota calculation would work. Source: IEC

Then, you take the total number of the party’s valid votes (N+R) and divide it by the abovementioned quota to get the first allocation of seats.

The remaining seat/s are allocated to the highest remainder after first allocation of seats.

If there are more than 5 seats to allocate after the first round, the next 5 are done according to highest remainder after which a third allocation is done based on the highest average of votes per seat for remaining seats.

In the example below, the third round is not applicable.

How the first round of national list seat allocations would work. Source: IEC

After this, parties will have their regional list seat allocations subtracted from the their final allocation of seats (as seen above) to ultimately their National list seat allocations (out of 200).

Example of how the national list seats will be allocated. Source: IEC

Provincial Legislatures

The provincial legislature seats are calculated in the same way as the regional list seats.

The quota is determined by the total valid provincial votes cast in that province, divided by the total seats, plus one.

An example of how the Provincial legislature quota calculation would work. Source: IEC

According to the IEC, the seats are as follows:

Number of provincial legisature seats per province. Source: IEC

Then, the seats for are determined by dividing the valid votes for the party/independent by the determined quota.


Read: South Africa 2024 election: Voting Day in photos

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