Nelson Mandela

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Many people are asking why the governing African National Congress (ANC) is happy after recording its worst performance since white minority rule ended in 1994 – 58% share of the vote.

This is the first time the party that has led South Africa since 1994 has won less than 60% of votes, but for an organisation that is hugely divided, riddled by corruption and has had a decade of lethargic leadership, this result is seen as a boost for its new leader Cyril Ramaphosa.

Many people see this as the ANC’s last chance to redeem itself.

Mr Ramaphosa took over the party in December 2017, after the ANC sacked Jacob Zuma, embroiled in corruption allegations, which he denies.

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One of its senior members, Fikile Mbalula, said the party’s share of votes “would have probably dropped to 40%” had its leadership not changed.

But the ANC shouldn’t celebrate too soon.

The people of South Africa may have given the ANC a mandate to lead, but it is not unconditional.

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