ANC loses majority in Parliament for first time in South African democracy in landmark election

ANC loses majority in Parliament for first time in South African democracy in landmark election

Johannesburg, Jun 1 (PTI): The African National Congress (ANC) party lost its majority in the South African Parliament on Saturday for the first time since Nelson Mandela led it to victory in the first democratic elections in 1994 at the end of the apartheid system of white minority rule.

With the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) having finished counting 99.8 per cent of the ballots cast on Wednesday, the ANC had garnered only 40 per cent of the votes, with the Democratic Alliance (DA) coming in at 22 per cent; Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the new party founded by former president Jacob Zuma, securing almost 15 per cent and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) dropping its share to just nine per cent.

Analysts across the board said that there would now be intense negotiations to decide who would govern the country in a coalition.

“I don’t think that the ANC membership, us as leaders of the ANC and our supporters must see this as a signal of the end of the ANC. This must be a learning point for the ANC. It’s a lesson that encourages us to go back to the drawing board,” Ndumiseni Ntuli, Head of Campaigns at the ANC, told TV channel Newzroom Afrika.

“It was a considered reflection of the state of the ANC – what is the calibre and the quality at various levels of the organisation, starting with branch executive committees up to the national executive committee; and what are the measures that we need to undertake in order to ensure that this leadership and this membership is repositioned in such a way that once again it becomes an inspiring membership and leadership of the ANC to the population of South Africa,” Ntuli added.

Ntuli conceded that this would be a complex and difficult undertaking, but a very necessary one.

This year’s elections were the most hotly contested, with 52 parties and many independent candidates, the latter for the first time, vying for the 400 seats in the National Assembly and varying numbers of seats for the nine provincial governments.

At the provincial level, although the ANC got strong margins in the provinces of Limpopo (73 per cent) and Eastern Cape (62 per cent), it barely made it in Free State (52 per cent) and Mpumalanga (51 per cent). Its 49.3 per cent vote in Northern Cape will also result in coalition talks with other parties, which analysts said would be much easier than the other areas that the ANC would have to negotiate.

The ANC suffered its biggest defeat in KwaZulu-Natal province, where it was beaten into third place by MK (45 per cent) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (18 per cent).

In the ninth province, Western Cape, the DA will continue governing for its fourth five-year term after winning 55 per cent of the vote.

Analysts said it was somewhat ironic that the ANC could lose its majority due to the split in the traditional vote for the party by both MK and the EFF, the latter started by former ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema.

MK leader Jacob Zuma has been debarred by the Constitutional Court from being a Member of Parliament because of a previous criminal conviction for contempt of court.

Zuma was sentenced after he walked out of a hearing of the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.

Zuma’s face though still appeared on the ballot papers on Wednesday against the block for the MK party, because the IEC said it was too late to reprint the millions of ballot papers.

The IEC expects to announce the final results of the election on Sunday as counting continued at the last of the more than 23,000 voting stations across the country, but no major changes were expected to the results announced so far. PTI FH GSP GSP

(This story is published as part of the auto-generated syndicate wire feed. No editing has been done in the headline or the body by ABP Live.)

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