Picture: Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA).
Picture: Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA).

Winners and losers at #Elections2019

By Waseem Carrim Time of article published May 14, 2019

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The 2019 election has come and gone. And we are lucky as a country that once again we have produced election results that are free and fair.

Who are the winners and losers from this election?

Winner - African National Congress: The ANC is the majority party once again and much has been made about its reduced majority by 4%.

This is a flawed analysis. We cannot compare the 2014 results to 2019, too much has happened since then. If we instead compare results with the 2016 local government elections, we will find that in fact the ANC has increased its support by more than 3%.

It will govern in eight of the nine provinces with a clear majority, and it was fully aware going into the election that taking back the Western Cape would be almost impossible. The governing party will be more than satisfied.

Runners-up - Economic Freedom Fighters: Yes, they are not the official opposition. Yes, they did not reach the highs of 15% that some polls predicted they would. But they have increased their share of the electorate by 5% from 2014 and 3% in 2016. For a party that is only six years old this is phenomenal.

They have become the official opposition in three provinces. They will send more MPs to Parliament who they can spread across the various committees. And we know the kind of energy they bring to our legislature.

Honourable mention - Inkatha Freedom Party: The IFP has managed to come back as the official opposition in KwaZulu-Natal, mostly taking back seats from their rival, the National Freedom Party, and gained a few seats in the National Assembly. I think they will be satisfied with their achievements.

Relegated - Democratic Alliance: It is hard to see how the DA emerges positively from these elections. Two percent down from 2014, 6% down from 2016 and losing their official opposition status in a few provinces, they have some introspection to do.

Their target of taking the Northern Cape and Gauteng away from the ANC remains just a pipe dream, and they do not look like they can find a clear coalition partner to work with. I suspect they may look back on their failed coalitions with the EFF in 2016 and think they may have been too keen to govern, too soon.

The most worrying statistic for them will be the gap between themselves and the ANC. It stands at a staggering 38%, up 10% from 2016.

What to make of the youth vote, or rather none-vote? Globally, youth vote lower than their adult counterparts, but we are not in a race to the bottom as South Africa.

Until we meaningfully engage our youth through decent work we cannot expect them to build the social capital they need to participate in our democratic processes.

The Electoral Commission of SA also needs to perhaps look at the voter registration process and whether it may be affecting turnout figures. Yet, all political parties have an opportunity during the sixth administration to reach a constituency of youth that has not been tapped into.

They should all make the youth in general and young women in particular the central focus of the next five years. We cannot have the same conversations in 2024.

Carrim is the chief executive of the National Youth Development Agency

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