ANC loses 30% of National Assembly seats, MK Party get more seats

The Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) chairperson Mosotho Moepya speaks at the National Results Operations Centre (ROC), Midrand. Picture: Itumeleng English/Independent Newspaper

The Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) chairperson Mosotho Moepya speaks at the National Results Operations Centre (ROC), Midrand. Picture: Itumeleng English/Independent Newspaper

Published Jun 1, 2024


POLITICAL parties are gearing up for coalition talks as the governing ANC looks set to fall well short of a majority for the first time in 30 years of democracy.

With results in from most of the polling stations, the ANC had received 41.8% of the votes, a precipitous drop from the 57.5% it secured in the last national election in 2019.

The three big parties seem to be the biggest losers in terms of seats in Parliament. Among potential coalition partners, the DA was in second place on 22.6%, while uMkhonto weSizwe (MK), the new party led by former president Jacob Zuma, was at 12.2% and eating into ANC support, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal, Zuma’s home province.

SA citizens came out in numbers this week to cast their vote in what has been the most contested elections since the dawn of democracy in 1994.

The faces in the National Assembly – the 400-seat directly elected house of Democratic South Africa’s Parliament – are set to change.

In what analysts do not see as a surprise, the governing ANC could loose at least 30% of its seats in the National Assembly, 70 of its previously-held 230 seats.

According to the analysts, the official opposition DA will get 80 seats, as opposed to 84 previously. Julius Malema’s EFF party sits at 38 seats as of last night, when the party had 900 000 votes.

However, the newly-formed MK Party has already received one million votes – overtaking the EFF – which translates to about 40 seats.

Analysts said as the vote count draws to a close, the ANC could not claw back votes to win a parliamentary majority, but it may still end up gaining more than 42% of the vote.

“The real question is 42% or 44%,” Reza Omar, strategic research director at Citizen Surveys, told Reuters.

“Limpopo, Eastern Cape and North West are ANC strongholds and some votes still have to be counted from these provinces.”

Speaking to the Saturday Star, political analyst Lukhona Mguni said the ANC’s poor performance came as no surprise.

He said the party would have a tough time convincing South Africans of their willingness to change and transform themselves over the next five years if its leadership remained the same.

He added: “The writing is on the wall for some major changes in order to ensure its renewal is genuine.

“There have been a lot of cries that the leadership... is very weak and is not suitable to lead the ANC into coherence to ensure that the ANC is a coherent and united force.

“They have been seen as divisive and they have been seen as flamboyant and arrogant and all these things. I think their poor performance is an outcome of that. The ANC NEC at some point wanted to resign and have this leadership put under administration and have it disbanded.”

Mnguni said political leaders needed to do better in terms of how they respected the will of the people, and treated them with respect.

“The people are showing us that they are not just voting cattle fodder for political parties. They have proven that they can speak... They are not just there for the politicians to tell them what to do. It is clear that their support during campaigns was not genuine support because they never came to vote.

“When the ANC descended on KZN with Thabo Mbeki in tow, they thought everything was under control, but the voters in that province have taught them a lesson,” he said.

Another analyst, Jamie Mighti, said it was clear the futures of some of the ANC leaders were on the line, including the future of ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa.

“The decline of the ANC at the polls is Cyril Ramaphosa's legacy and I do not think he will survive the next five years as party leader. There is bound to be some reaction and he might be recalled,” Mighti said.

Analysts said that at this stage of the vote count, the ANC could not claw back up to win a parliamentary majority, but it might still end up gaining more than 42% of the vote.

Meanwhile, DA leader John Steenhuisen, whose party is a member of the Multi-Party Charter (MPC), which includes, among others, ActionSA, told reporters at the National Results Operations Centre that he was disappointed with ActionSA’s performance.

“I am quite disappointed with ActionSA. They told us they will bring 10.56% but it does not seem like that will materialise and it’s obviously disappointing, but honestly it’s still early. I think we have to wait for other results to come in,” he said.

Reacting to this, ActionSA president Herman Mashaba hit back, saying he was not happy with the DA and its performance in the elections.

As things stand, the DA had just passed the two million mark with more than 62% of voting districts counted.

“I am also not happy with the DA and how it has performed. We must, as leaders of the MPC, go back to the drawing board. We are yet to have any discussions with other members of the MPC,” he said.