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.
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.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa led the African National Congress (ANC) to victory in Wednesday’s election, but a drop in its share of the vote underlines the challenge he faces restoring confidence in his party.
With opponents in the ANC and an emboldened far-left opposition party, the former union leader turned business tycoon may struggle to deliver on his promises to push through tough reforms.
Africa’s oldest liberation movement won 57.5% of the parliamentary vote. That was its worst parliamentary result since it swept to power at the end of white minority rule but an improvement on its showing in 2016 local elections.
Ramaphosa worked closely with South Africa’s first black president Nelson Mandela to end white minority rule in 1994. He replaced scandal-plagued Jacob Zuma as head of state in February 2018 after winning a bitter contest to become ANC leader and convincing top party officials to instruct Zuma to resign.
Ramaphosa’s first full presidential term should start later this month, after nomination by his party’s parliamentary caucus and an inauguration ceremony.
“We’ve made mistakes, but we are sorry about those mistakes, and we are saying our people should reinvest their confidence in us,” Ramaphosa said on Wednesday after casting his ballot in the Soweto township where he grew up.
The African National Congress easily won South Africa’s general election but its share of the vote fell, reflecting anger at corruption scandals and racial inequalities that remain entrenched a generation after the party took power.
The turnout for Wednesday’s vote was markedly lower than at the last election in 2014, falling to 66% from 73.5%, the electoral commission said, while the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), also saw its vote share fall.
ANC Deputy Secretary General Jessie Duarte said “confidence is returning and we need to correct our mistakes”. Other ANC officials had already acknowledged the decline in support compared with five years ago.
Early vote tallies suggest South Africa’s ruling ANC party will retain power after an election on Wednesday, but analysts said its share of the vote could fall below 60 percent for the first time since the end of white minority rule.
As of 0900 GMT Thursday, more than 4 million votes had been counted out of about 26.8 million registered voters. In the parliamentary vote, the ANC was on 55 percent, with the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) on nearly 26 percent and the leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) on nearly 9 percent.
South Africans voting for a new parliament and nine provincial legislatures had expressed frustration at rampant corruption, high unemployment and racial inequalities that persist 25 years after Nelson Mandela’s former liberation party swept to power in the first all-race poll in 1994.
Based on the early results, the News24 online site predicted the ANC would win between 56 percent and 59 percent of the final vote.
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) will kick-start the economy and deal with corruption, it vowed on Sunday, three days before elections at which its overwhelming majority faces its sternest test since the party rose to power.
Less than 30 km (18.6 miles) away, the country’s second-biggest opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), challenged the ANC’s governance record and promised a tougher stance on corruption and economic policies to target racial inequality.
Though the ANC has won each parliamentary election since the transition from apartheid in 1994, recent opinion polls predict that it will bleed support to opposition coalitions that have gained ground as the ANC has been dogged by political scandal and a flagging economy.
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) appears headed for victory in next month’s election, as President Cyril Ramaphosa seeks to strike a reforming tone, with three opinion polls showing support ranging between 51 and 61 percent.
The three pollsters, which used different methodologies and turnout assumptions for the May 8 parliamentary vote, put support for the biggest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), at between 19 and 24 percent.
Facing huge pent-up demand for better living standards for the country’s black majority, the ANC is seen by some critics as having failed to live up to the heady promises of Nelson Mandela’s era. The party’s image was severely tarnished under Ramaphosa’s predecessor, Jacob Zuma.
If left unresolved, the Free State matter could adversely affect party support in this year’s elections. In what is set to politically polarise the ANC in the Free State, a group of disgruntled party activists – unhappy with the outcome of the December 10, 2018 provincial list conference – plan to step up legal pressure against the provincial executive committee (PEC), if the outcome of the provincial conference is not declared null and void. According to Monnapule Ntamo – an ANC provincial member behind the campaign – last year’s provincial list conference took place against the backdrop of a court process to dissolve “an illegitimate PEC which, through gate-keeping subverted the ANC constitution, guidelines and procedures” and “parachuted” itself into power with the assistance of some national leaders. The threat by the Free State ANC members flies in the face of the party policy of resolving matters internally. If left unresolved, the Free State matter could adversely affect party support in this year’s elections. Said Ntamo: “Today we are reaping the results of this imposed PEC. “It becomes important that the coming into office of this PEC be located [viewed] properly [with] in the continued programme of further hollowing the ANC and actively creating membership dissatisfaction in pursuit of an alternative agenda. “As members of the ANC we have once again taken a difficult decision of taking our communities, in particular, and the country in general into our confidence. “The decision is informed by the knowledge that ANC is the
South Africa’s president announced a multi-billion-dollar stimulus programme on Friday, earmarking funds for job creation and infrastructure development as he seeks to make good on a pledge to revive the country’s ailing economy. “We have to resort to reprioritising our budget,” Ramaphosa told reporters in Pretoria, adding that there was no room to increase spending or borrowing.
Janet Heard, managing editor of The Daily Maverick: "I think the DA took a lot for granted in just assuming that they have the trust of the public who supported them. They weren't used to being questioned by that support base and it seemed like they couldn't believe that they were being challenged on their transparency (in dealing with the De Lille matter)."