Durban – The African National Congress may have won the 2019 South African general election, but the political landscape has been materially altered as 14 parties prepare to enter the National Assembly.
The official election results revealed on Saturday night at the Electoral Commission of South Africa's results centre in Pretoria have revealed that the ANC - while still commanding majorities in most of the country’s provinces - is experiencing a decline in overall popularity.
An additional woe for the continent’s oldest liberation movement is the consistent gnawing of opposition parties at the governing party’s support base. The final results saw the ANC secure a total of 57.5 percent of votes cast, down nearly five percent its 2014 result.
Much of the vote shedding appeared to have gone to hard-left, with the Economic Freedom Fighters increasing their share of the vote from 6.35 percent in 2014 to 10.79 percent in 2019.
The official opposition Democratic Alliance, obtained 470,396 fewer votes than it had in 2014 and shed two percent of its total, obtaining only 20.77 percent of the vote.
Two of the talking points surrounding the country’s latest elections have been the growth of smaller parties at the expense of the ANC – and to a lesser extent the DA – and the shift in provincial politics as new opposition parties have been installed in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.
And while the ANC maintained control of the key province of Gauteng, it did so with a tiny majority, garnering 50.19 percent of voter support in the province. It managed to hold on to its 54.22 percent majority in KwaZulu-Natal, which was never in much doubt.
The striking results by the EFF in former president Jacob Zuma’s backyard will certainly change the way the ANC plays it provincial game. The EFF increased its legislature seats from two in 2014 and now hold eight.
These numbers, coupled with a resurgent Inkatha Freedom Party which ousted the DA as the provincial opposition, will concern the governing party going forward.
The EFF were the biggest winners nationally, increasing their share of the vote, but also importantly, growing their actual number of votes to 1.8 million people – up 712,262 from the previous election.
The DA and ANC experienced decreases in actual votes in an election with a 66 percent turnout. The EFF is also now the official opposition in three provinces - Limpopo, the North West, and now Mpumalanga.
Another small party that will be celebrating is the conservative Freedom Front Plus. It secured 414,864 votes or 2.38 percent, up significantly from 165,715 votes (0.90 percent) in 2014.
The IFP secured 588,839 votes (3.38 percent), an increase of 146,985 votes. The IFP breakaway National Freedom Party, which dealt the IFP a significant blow in 2014, experienced a massive drop in support. It tumbled from 288,742 votes in 2014 to 61,220 (0.35 percent) this time around.
However, the crippled NFP still fared better than the Congress of the People, probably because they have a core constituency in Northern KwaZulu-Natal.
Cope – once believed to be the party that would challenge ANC hegemony - secured 7.42 percent of the vote in 2009 in its first election. Ten years later it received 0.27 percent.
The National Assembly seat allocation is as follows: