Written by on June 5, 2024

Written by: Tasha Siziba


Votes from a close national election had South Africans on edge, as early returns showed the African National Congress doing poorly.

Following the recent elections, which saw the ANC lose its legislative majority, the party now faces a critical decision that will shape South Africa’s future.

With just 40% of the vote, the ANC needs to form a coalition with a different political party in order to gain a majority in parliament. Unless it chooses to form a minority government on its own, this coalition partner must back the ANC’s legislative agenda and presidential pick.

With 22% of the vote, the Democratic Alliance (DA), a center-right party, was the second largest and might be a possible deal-maker.

Critics accuse the DA of protecting economic privileges of the white minority during apartheid, a charge the party denies.

The ANC could collaborate with two radical parties that have dissolved, namely former President Jacob Zuma’s MK party and Julius Malema’s EFF.

These three parties share the same constituency, the black majority, and their combined vote come to 65%. ¬†Malema has warned the ANC against forming a coalition that would “reinforce white supremacy” and be a “puppet of a white imperialist agenda”.

The coalition with the DA, despite differing policies from the ANC, both agree on the need to uphold South Africa’s 1994 constitution.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has made it clear that any coalition agreement would have to be within the framework of the current constitution.

The five major parties received 90% of the vote, indicating strong support for consolidation and rejecting new, personality-based parties lacking policy differentiation. Although they showed strong presence on social media, their organizational substance prevailed in the ballot.

The following parties were among the 45 that received fewer votes than that extremely low threshold: ActionSA (1.2%), ACDP (0.6%), UDM (0.5%), Rise Mzansi (0.4%), Bosa (0.41%), ATM (0.4%), and Al Jama-ah (0.2%). Another figure that demonstrates this vividly is that 1.31% of ballots were spoilt.

Democracy has won, but it hasn’t yet been fully established. The parties that govern South Africa for the next five years will be decided by the coalition talks that have started. Here, there are three distinct scenarios:

  • A coalition of the ANC, DA, and IFP centered on the principles of constitutionalism, the rule of law, and prudent economic management;
  • An alliance between the ANC and MK party or the EFF based on a common populist platform to expand the state at the expense of private property and commerce, and to devalue or, in MK’s case, completely abolish the Constitution and,
  • A minority ANC government that, when it comes to adopting budgets and other measures, governs with the backing of one or more other parties.

South Africans will be represented in Parliament by seven new political parties.

This was the first time independent candidates were permitted to run for office, but none of them made it to Parliament.

There are now 18 parties in the National Assembly, compared to 14 in 2019.

Having lost their seats, Cope, the AIC, and the NFP all leave the National Assembly.

The MK Party received fifty-eight seats in Parliament, the DA gained three, and the ANC lost seventy-one seats.

The PA received nine seats, the IFP gained three, and the EFF lost five.

After losing four seats, the FF+ now shares six seats in the National Assembly with ActionSA, the third newcomer.

The UDM and Al-Jama gained one seat, while the ACDP and GOOD lost one.

BOSA, the NCC and Rise Mzansi – also new parties – all scored two seats.

The PAC kept its one seat, while the UAT, another new party, scored one.

The DA gained two seats, the EFF held onto its position, and the ANC lost nine seats in Gauteng.

The MK Party received eight seats from the newcomers, ActionSA three, the PA two, BOSA one, and Rise Mzansi one.

ActionSA also makes an appearance in this legislature with one seat, as the FF+ held on to its singular seat.

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