South African

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.

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Cyril Ramaphosa - South Africa Today News Headlines

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.

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Cyril Ramaphosa - South Africa Today News

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.

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Pravin Gordhan - South Africa News Today

South African Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Sunday that efforts to clean up corruption in state-owned companies (SOCs) faced “dangerous” resistance which threatened the country’s sovereignty.

“But the dangerous and unscrupulous fightback against our reform efforts continues. If we allow this fightback to prevail, we risk losing our sovereignty,” Gordhan said, without naming who was behind the backlash.Here's the full story.