Yesterday was the start of the latest floor crossing window in parliament. Is this a purely South African thing or does it happen elsewhere on this crazy planet too? Whoever thought this was a good idea must have been smoking something! I honestly don’t know how anyone in their right minds could have thought allowing an elected official to change parties could be a good idea. How can they justify it to their constituents? You see, the principals of so-called floor crossing are set out in our Constitution. It provides for two window periods for floor crossing during the term of municipalities, ie. The first fifteen days of September in the second and fourth year of the term of municipalities. Here are the very barest basics of the concept:
1. A councillor elected on a party list may change membership of his or her party- no matter which party they leave or join. A councilor of an independent ward can join a party. A councillor elected on a party list can become independent. These changes have to be submitted to and accepted in writing by an officer designated by the Electoral Commission. And the crosser keeps his “seat”- he just takes it with him to whatever party he’s going to.
2. Political parties can merge or subdivide. Once again- in writing submitted to and accepted by the proper “authorities”. And of course they keep their “seats”.
3. The people who cross cannot be penalised or “punished” in any way whatsoever.
And yes, there are all sorts of rules and percentages that apply, but it basically boils down to the above three points. See- all nice and legal like and constitutionally viable and all that.
Now, WILL SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN IT TO ME!!! The concept just boggles my mind. Why would someone I voted for in my local election- punting himself as the best thing since sliced bread and representing a particular party- then decide he wants to be in another party!? Why ask me to vote for him then? Why don’t they just draw straws or something! And trying to tell Damien why I’m upset about it is far from simple, I’m not heavily into politics but I do believe in my right to vote- but if the guy I vote for isn’t going to do what he says he’s going to do, why keep voting? See what I’m getting at? Understand, I will never not go and vote- my ID book has all the requisite stamps in it and I have stood in all the queues. It just gives me all the more right to complain!