No surprises but plenty to ponder.

Author:Rafiq, Raji
Position:Around Africa: South Africa

The South African election results tallied almost exactly with our predictions in the May issue of New African. The ANC scraped through but confidence in this once-venerable party is dropping. Raji Rafiq reviews the election results and what they imply.

Mmusi Maimane of the centrist Democratic Alliance (DA) was the first of the leaders of the three main political parties of South Africa to cast his vote on election day (8 May). Maimane voted at about 7:38am, at a polling station in Dobsonville in Soweto, Johannesburg.

Julius Malema of the far-left Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) voted in Seshego, Limpopo, at about 10:38am, accompanied by his wife and party officials of the province.

Cyril Ramaphosa of the ruling centre-left African National Congress (ANC) voted in Chiawelo, Soweto in Johannesburg, at about 11:40am, accompanied by his wife, Dr Tshepo Motsepe.

Fears about poor turnout ahead of the 2019 polls turned out to be justified. At 67.3% (inclusive of spoilt votes), it was relatively low.

Pratibha Thaker, editorial and regional director for the Middle East and Africa at the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) in London, says the low voter turnout underlined "popular anger about the sluggish economy, high unemployment and a string of corruption scandals".

In the penultimate national and provincial polls in 2014, turnout was 73%. Considering turnout was above 80% for elections in the 1990s, there is clearly an increasing trend of disinterest.

The ANC got 57.5% of the national vote in the 2019 elections, securing 230 seats in the national assembly, down from 62.2% of votes and 249 seats in 2014.

84 seats in parliament were won by DA MPs, down from 89 seats, the party having garnered 20.8% of the national vote. In the 2014 national and provincial elections, the DA secured 22.2% of the votes.

The EFF now has a bigger presence in parliament with 44 seats, having secured 10.8% of the national vote. This is almost twice the figures of 2014, when it obtained 6.4% of votes and secured 25 seats in parliament.

"The overall victory for the ANC comes with major warning signs for the future: the party's support is dropping," says Jason Robinson, senior Africa analyst at Oxford Analytica, an Oxford-based consultancy.

"It barely held on to its majority in Gauteng province, the country's economic hub and it suffered sizeable declines in places such as KwaZulu-Natal," Robinson adds. Put simply, "Public dissatisfaction has grown."

Pontsho Pilane, a media...

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