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ANC vote share improves relative to 2016 local government elections
May 13, 2019, 7:13 pm

But down on 2014 national elections

A record 26.8 million South Africans were registered to vote in this election, but there were a further 7 million who were eligible to vote, but did not register [PREUSS]


The ruling African National Congress (ANC), which was formed in 1912 to combat the 1913 Land Act, and banned from 1960 to 1990, retained its majority in the 2019 elections with a 57.5 per cent share of the vote.

This was better than the 53.9 per cent share of the vote in the 2016 local government elections, but down on the 62.2 per cent share it had in the 2014 national elections and its recent peak of 69.7 per cent in 2004, when the economy was booming under former President Thabo Mbeki.

A record 26.8 million South Africans were registered to vote in this election, but there were a further 7 million who were eligible to vote, but did not register.

Each voter has two ballots, one for the national legislature and one for the provincial legislature, so a voter can choose to vote for two different parties. South Africa uses a proportional representation voting system, so each vote has equal weight.

Voters choose a party, not a person, and the party selects who will go to the legislatures to represent it. The executive president is chosen by Parliament, which means that effectively it is the leader of the majority party.

The Western Cape is the only province governed by the official opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), while the other eight provinces are governed by the ANC.

The national assembly now has 14 political parties represented, with the ANC and the DA losing 19 and 5 seats each respectively, and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Freedom Front Plus (FF+) and Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) gaining 15, 6 and 4 seats each, respectively.

Economists are now waiting to see by how much President Cyril Ramaphosa will shrink his cabinet and who he will appoint to re-invigorate economic growth. Another contraction in the economy is expected in the first quarter 2019 after contractions in the first and second quarters of 2018.

“Jobs will be created by the private sector only within a favourable investment environment and not with policy uncertainty, corruption, doublespeak and Expropriation Without Compensation hanging over our collective heads. No-one will invest if they believe their money or investment isn’t safe. The ruling party needs to send clear messages after this election regarding its policies and we need a renewed collaboration between government, business and labour in order to place the country on a renewed growth path – away from conflict to joint goals around growth that will, in turn, create jobs and a thriving economy,” Peter Armitage, the CEO of Anchor Capital, said.

Professor Raymond Parsons from the North West University Business School was confident that the non-violent passage of the election would reduce political uncertainty and boost business and consumer confidence.

The overall outcome so far of the 2019 elections has the potential, if present trends continue and policy promises are kept, to significantly lift business and investor confidence from their present low levels.

A strong economic message coming from the election is the overwhelming need, apart from issues of good governance, to now focus on turning the economy around and putting it on a much higher growth path. The hope is that the 2019 elections will give President Cyril Ramaphosa room to make headway with structural reforms that will boost investment and growth,” he said.

Helmo Preuss in Pretoria, South Africa for The BRICS Post

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