ANC looks set to share power after historic election loss

ANC looks set to share power after historic election loss

Just nowFarouk Chothia,BBC News, JohannesburgReutersThe ANC’s leader Cyril Ramaphosa will have to form a coalition

With most of the results now in from South Africa’s election, the long ruling African National Congress (ANC), will have to contend with sharing power after a historic loss of parliamentary majority.

Counting in over 80% of voting districts is complete and the ANC’s share of the vote currently stands at 41%.

Trailing behind are the Democratic Alliance (DA) on 22%, the MK party led by former President Jacob Zuma on 13% and the EFF with 9%.

The final results are expected over the weekend.

The ANC has always polled above 50% since the country’s first democratic elections in 1994, which saw Nelson Mandela become president.

Support for the ANC has been dropping significantly over due to anger over high levels of corruption, unemployment and crime.

One long-time ANC voter switched to the DA this election and said the loss of parliament majority was not enough. She wanted them out.

“This result is not good. I wanted it out of government. We need to give someone else a chance,” she told the BBC.

Now the ANC is scrambling to hold on to power by forming a coalition with one or more parties.

ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe said his party was unlikely to form an alliance with the centre-right DA, which is currently polling in second place with 22%.

He said there would have to be “policy alignment” between parties to a coalition agreement.

For the ANC, its black empowerment policies – aimed at giving black people a stake in the economy following their exclusion during the racist apartheid era – were “non-negotiable”.

EPASupport for the DA has grown in this election

He added that their coalition partner would have to be onboard with the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill, which was signed into law earlier this month.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has said the ANC will not form a coalition with a government that doesn’t support these policies.

The DA opposes both the NHI and the ANC’s black empowerment policies.

The DA’s support appears to have grown in this election, with the party having regained the votes of white people who had backed a party to its right in the last election, and some black people who felt it needed to be given a chance in national government.

Despite the ANC’s reluctance to align with the DA, its leader John Steenhuisen hasn’t ruled out the idea.

Mr Steenhuisen said if an alliance with the ANC was reached there would be a few non-negotiables.

“Respect for the rule of law and the constitution, a social market economy that treats the private sector as partners in the growth agenda.

“Zero tolerance for corruption and cadre deployment, and an absolute laser-like focus on economic policies that grow jobs.”

Mr Steenhuisen also told the BBC he would have to consult pre-election coalition partners before considering any negotiations.

But he ruled out the EFF and the MK party, which both advocate seizing white-owned land and nationalising mines, as potential coalition partners.

“I think instability is not in the best interest of the country. A coalition with the radical left in South Africa of the MK party and the EFF will produce the same policies that destroyed Zimbabwe, destroyed Venezuela,” he said.

One possibility would be a coalition between former MK party and the ANC in both KwaZulu-Natal and nationally – but given the fractious relations between the two parties, that appears unlikely.

While Mr Zuma has been suspended from the ANC, he is still a member. He appeared to suggest he would to do a deal with the ANC if it replaced President Cyril Ramaphosa as leader.

“I’ve got the problem with the leadership of the ANC, not with the ANC itself or its membership,” he said.

He was however reluctant to discuss the prospect of entering into a post-election pact with the ANC.

A record 70 parties and 11 independents were running, with South Africans voting for a new parliament and nine provincial legislatures.

The DA has signed a pact with 10 of them, agreeing to form a coalition government if they get enough votes to dislodge the ANC from power.

But this does not include the EFF or MK, so is unlikely to happen.

As the parties scramble to form alliances, Kenya’s former President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is leading the African Union election observer mission in South Africa, offered some advice for forming coalitions.

He said coalition governments need to focus on areas of agreement instead of differences.

“I can only wish them well and hope that the leadership will take this decision by the people in a positive frame,” he said.

Getty Images/BBC

Go to for more news from the African continent.

Follow us on Twitter @BBCAfrica, on Facebook at BBC Africa or on Instagram at bbcafrica

BBC Africa podcasts


Table of Contents

More Posts