Parliament in Cape Town. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Parliament in Cape Town. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

According to the constitution, every SA citizen who is qualified to vote is eligible to be a member of the National Assembly.

However, there are a few exceptions:

• Anyone who has been appointed by or is in service of the state and receives payment for that work does not qualify to be an MP. This does not apply to the president and deputy president, ministers and deputy ministers, and other office-bearers whose functions are compatible with those of an MP, and have been recognised as such by law.

• Permanent delegates of the National Council of Provinces or members of a provincial legislature or municipal council.

• Unrehabilitated insolvents and anyone declared to be of unsound mind by a court.

• Those who have been convicted of an offence and sentenced to more than a year in prison without the option of a fine. This applies to offences committed within and outside SA if the conduct would have constituted an offence in SA. An individual is not considered sentenced until an appeal against the conviction has been determined, or the time for an appeal has expired. A person who was convicted of a crime is eligible to be an MP if five years have passed since their sentence was completed.

A person can lose their membership of the National Assembly if they "cease to be eligible", are absent from the assembly without permission, or cease to be a member of the party that nominated them as an MP.