South Africa’s ANC Loses Parliamentary Majority

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) has, for the first time since taking power thirty years ago, lost its parliamentary majority. The country’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has declared the election results despite receiving over 500 objections from 26 political organizations, in addition to allegations of vote rigging. Despite the country’s watershed election on May 29th, voter turnout was low, with only 58.64 percent of registered voters exercising their right to participate in the political process.

What You Need to Know:

The IEC has declared South Africa’s 2024 election results, with the ANC losing 71 seats in parliament, the Democratic Alliance gaining 3 seats, and Jacob Zuma’s uMkhoto weSizwe gaining 58 seats.

As it stands, the ANC received 40.18 percent of the vote (159/400 seats), the Democratic Alliance (DA) received 20.81 percent (87/400 seats), uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) received an unexpected 14.58 percent (58/400 seats), with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) dropping to 9.52 percent (39/400 seats).

Election results Source: Independent Electoral Commission

For the first time in 30 years, the ANC will be forced to form a coalition with one or multiple parties, and will require the support of at least 42 non-ANC parliamentarians to pass any parliamentary votes.

Speaking at the IEC’s Results Operations Center in Midrand, President Cyril Ramaphosa stated, “What this election has made plain is that the people of South Africa expect their leaders to work together to meet their needs. They expect the parties for which they have voted to find common ground, to overcome their differences, to act and work together for the good of everyone.”

“Our people expect all parties to work together within the framework of our constitution and address whatever challenges we encounter peacefully and in accordance with the precepts of our constitution and the rule of law. Each party emerges from this election with a mandate based on the commitments they each made to the electorate.”

Despite receiving over 500 objections to the election results, the IEC has dismissed allegations of vote rigging, with IEC chairperson Mosotho Moepya declaring the elections as free and fair this evening.

Many of the allegations of vote rigging have come from Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto weSizwe party as well as Ace Magashule’s African Congress for Transformation.

Sharing videos of stolen and burnt ballot boxes on X, Zuma’s party has called for a re-election instead of a recount. Despite uMkhonto weSizwe receiving 45.93 percent of the vote in KwaZulu-Natal, the party has claimed vote-rigging tactics were used in the province as well as in the Free State and Gauteng.

 

While the IEC has refused to yield to Zuma’s demands, the Democratic Alliance has announced it has deployed a team comprised of political heavyweights such as Helen Zille to engage in coalition negotiations.

“I can today announce that the DA’s Federal Executive has unanimously adopted a resolution to initiate exploratory talks with other political parties that share a commitment to the South African Constitution, to identify options for the formation of governments at national and provincial level where no party has obtained an outright majority.

To facilitate this process, the Federal Executive has appointed a negotiating team composed of Helen Zille, Ivan Meyer, Siviwe Gwarube, Alan Winde, Tony Leon and Ryan Coetzee to facilitate the engagement with other parties,” said Democratic Alliance leader John Steenhuisen.

The Details:

Upon the declaration of results, South Africa’s new parliament now has just 14 days to elect a new President, with the ANC’s Ramaphosa gunning for a second term. How smooth the transition will be is yet to be seen. However, given that the EFF has a long history of disrupting governmental events such as the State of the Nation address, where last year Julius Malema and his colleagues were expelled for attempting to storm the stage where President Ramaphosa was speaking, it is likely the upcoming negotiations are to be tense.

So, What Now?:

MK’s Zuma has stated that the party will not negotiate with the ANC while Ramaphosa remains its leader, while the DA has continuously stated it will not engage in talks with the MK and EFF, claiming an ANC-EFF or ANC-MK coalition represents ‘doomsday’ for South Africa.

However, it is likely the parties will negotiate behind closed doors, as the country’s election results have forced their hands.

Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger is a Political Science Graduate from the University of Otago, New Zealand. Currently working as an Editor for The ModernInsurgent and writing for Atlas News, her interests include conflict politics, history, yoga and meditation.

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