Ruling ANC fell short of simple majority for the first time in South African elections

 African National Congress secured more than 41 percent votes in the general elections

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress has fell short of a majority in the general elections. ANC got more than 40 percent votes which means it will not be able to win 201 seats to single handedly form the government.  In 2019 elections, ruling ANC won 57 percent votes (231 seats)). It means ANC has lost almost 17% votes compare to 2019.  It is a devastating blow for the party once led by Nelson Mandela. The ANC has dominated South African politics since winning in the first post-apartheid elections 30 years ago. It is a worst election result for ANC.

The Democratic Alliance (DA), the country’s principal opposition party, is currently in second place followed by the MK party and EFF. Democratic Alliance was on around 21% of the vote. The new MK Party of former President Jacob Zuma, who has turned against the ANC he once led, was third with just over 14% of the vote in the first election it has contested. The Economic Freedom Fighters was fourth with just over 9%.

The ANC is currently ahead in seven out of South Africa’s nine provinces. It is at more than 50 percent in vote counts in five of those: Limpopo (74 percent), the Eastern Cape (63 percent), North West (58 percent), Free State (53 percent) and Mpumalanga (52 percent). In the Northern Cape (49 percent) and Gauteng (36 percent) the ANC currently leads with a plurality of the votes, but might need coalition partners to form governments.


The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) is on track to continue to govern the Western Cape (53 percent), which it has done since 2009. And in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), former President Jacob Zuma’s MK party has the highest number of votes at some 46 percent ahead of the ANC with only about 18 percent.

And in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), former President Jacob Zuma’s MK party has the highest number of votes at some 46 percent ahead of the ANC with only about 18 percent.

In 1994, the ANC won 62.5 percent of the vote. In 1999, it won 66.4 percent. In 2004, it reached its highest levels, clinching almost 70 percent of the vote. In 2009, it won nearly 66 percent, and in 2014, it won 62 percent.

In the last election in 2019, the ANC achieved its lowest margin of victory, winning 57.5 percent of the vote.

South Africa remains one of the most Unequal countries of the world with 32% unemployment along with soaring levels of crime. Immense frustration with water, and electricity shortages as well as corruption has led to growing criticism of the ANC government.

For many, the initial progress that followed liberation from white-minority rule has not been sustained. Despite significant achievements in Africa’s most industrialized nation, inequalities inherited from the apartheid regime have remained, and over the last decade, even worsened. The party’s vote share has fallen by a few percent in every election since 2004 — exacerbated by a generation divide, with younger voters born after the apartheid, the so-called “born frees”, less likely to vote for the ANC.

According to the constitution, the party with the largest vote has two weeks from the result confirmation to form a new government. The ANC will now have to form a coalition government with one or more opposition parties for the first time, to remain in power.

MK and the left wing Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have called for parts of the economy to be nationalized. Both might be willing to form a coalition government with ANC.  The rightwing Democratic Alliance is viewed as business-friendly and analysts say an ANC-DA coalition would be more welcomed by foreign investors. The DA has been the most critical opposition party for years and does not share the ANC’s pro-Russia and pro-China foreign policy. South Africa takes over the presidency of the Group of 20 industrialized and emerging-market nations next year.

                                                                         Khalid Bhatti 

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