The decline of the ANC opens the door to small parties and coalition politics

by MMC
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With the ANC’s electoral support expected to fall significantly in upcoming polls, South Africa could see a political reconfiguration after 2024, analysts say. The ANC won the 2019 elections with a reduced majority of 57.50% – down from 62.15% in the 2014 elections – with the lowest vote share achieved since 1994, with the trend continuing to show a decline in its electoral support. ALSO READ: ANC threatens action against rogue government deployees While the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) significantly increased their vote share – from 6.35% to 10.80% – the proportion of the Democratic Alliance in…

With the ANC’s electoral support expected to fall significantly in upcoming polls, South Africa could see a political reconfiguration after 2024, analysts say.

The ANC won the 2019 elections with a reduced majority of 57.50% – down from 62.15% in the 2014 elections – with the lowest vote share achieved since 1994, with the trend continuing to show a decline in its electoral support.

READ ALSO : ANC threatens action against thugs deployed in government

While the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) significantly increased their vote share – from 6.35% to 10.80% – the Democratic Alliance’s vote share also decreased, from 22.23% to 20.77%. The Inkatha Freedom Party (from 2.40% to 3.38%) and the Freedom Front Plus (from 0.9% to 2.38%) also made significant gains.

500 political parties

South Africa’s Electoral Commission has registered more than 500 political parties, including 17 in the past three months, and independent political analyst Sandile Swana said opposition party fragmentation would not be a factor in the next elections. He predicted the ANC could lose Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).

“Whether the opposition is fragmented or not, the ANC is already falling below 50% and we are heading towards a coalition government,” Swana said.

READ ALSO : Elections 2024: ANC factional divisions laid bare on Ramaphosa grounds

“There will no longer be one dominant party in power, but smaller parties working together in a government of national unity.

“The 2024 elections will see a reconfiguration of South African politics, as seen in the Joburg metro, where a mayor emerges from a smaller party. »

The ANC has lost its position

The ANC, he said, “has lost its prominent position in the country’s electoral landscape”.

“After the 2021 local elections, we now know that voters no longer see the need to keep the ANC in power – certainly not in Gauteng and KZN.

READ ALSO : 2024 election: Ace’s ACT, the ANC’s great rival

“The ANC has already lost the Western Cape, will lose Gauteng and is facing defeat in KZN because voters no longer believe that the solutions for South Africa come only from the ruling party.

“Even for those who believe in liberation politics, the new home of liberation politics has now become the EFF.

“The emergence of Ace Magashule’s African Congress for Transformation (ACT) poses a danger to the ANC in the Free State,” he said.

“If Magashule decides to launch a formidable attack on the ANC in the Free State, and the EFF’s Julius Malema does the same, the ruling party will be in big trouble.”

READ ALSO : 2024 elections: ANC uses anti-corruption efforts as ploy to win

Regarding the fragmentation of opposition parties, Swana said: “Our proportional representation system favors the emergence of small parties – part of our constitutional architecture, allowing every opinion to be represented in parliament and provincial legislatures. »

Voter apathy

Roland Henwood, a professor of political science at the University of Pretoria, said that while there was no indication of the strength of the ACT, “it could be another party dominated and focused on the personality “.

He said voter apathy was likely to be “a key factor in the polls and would have a significant impact on the major parties, if turnout is low”. Fragmentation, which he describes as “a global trend,” will continue.

READ ALSO : ANC grapples with immigration dilemma as elections approach

“Some could attract enough voters to gain seats in parliament and possibly influence the formation of a coalition, if that happens,” Henwood said.

Daryl Swanepoel, chief executive of the Inclusive Society Institute, said a failure to resolve the Eskom crisis would impact voter turnout, with 45% of the electorate not going to polling stations.

– brians@citizen.co.za

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