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Elections 2024 – the answers to all your burning questions

Elections 2024 – the answers to all your burning questions

In this edition, we’ll answer some of your questions about Elections 2024. Your questions are our essential compass and guide on how we report the elections to you – so thank you for sending us your questions on the topic. We are working through them all, but the word cloud above indicates your areas of interest. What is striking is how issues rather than personalities will frame these elections. We will address all of these themes in the months ahead.

When will the elections take place? 

Between May and August 2024, with an earlier date likely at this stage, according to our colleague Marianne Merten. You’ll find answers to your general voting questions here.

Have a look at this great webinar with Mark Heywood, Lindiwe Mazibuko and Mbali Ntuli on why voter education needs to start now.

Nonkululeko Njilo reported on how Elections 2024 will work here.

How much power is exercised by councils and provincial governments compared with national governments?

It depends how you view power. If money is power, then provincial government holds authority. A significant part of spending happens in provinces. Major powers (policing, defence, fiscal, transport, health and education) are, however, exercised nationally (if implemented provincially), so that level is still über-powerful in our intergovernmental system. Local government is the underfunded minnow now struggling and limping everywhere. This question will become more important as the ANC’s hegemony begins to break down and different provinces come into play next year.

Is a ballot in favour of a small party actually just a gift to the DA or the ANC?

No. Smaller parties allow the exercise of different and varied political interests, and they reflect a political diversity that is important to break hegemonies. This is the upside. The downside, in Johannesburg, for example, is that small parties can be used as proxies for shadow interests, or can be manipulated by offering them positions of power.

How can we hold politicians accountable?

With difficulty.

This webinar with professors William Gumede and Geo Quinot looks at the systems of accountability and participation built into our Constitution.

I want to directly elect a president. How do I do that?

Unfortunately, we can’t. Electoral reform is needed to provide for this. There are upsides (we get to have a say in who is the head of the country) and downsides (it can allow for populism to set in).

What is the likelihood of a coalition government excluding the ANC-EFF succeeding nationally and provincially? 

Unlikely by current numbers. The Multi-Party Charter for South Africa coalition of seven parties (four of which were on the ballot in the 2021 local government elections) has an assumed support base of 31%, based on the 2021 poll. Together, the ANC and EFF have an assumed support base of well more than 50%, based on previous polls. But an ANC-EFF coalition is not a given. Many parts of the ANC do not see it as a natural fit (some do), while the EFF is going for a majority but is unlikely to get it.

A large number of influential South Africans, organised by former minister, peace negotiator and dialogue strategist Roelf Meyer, believe the country’s interests would be best served by a coalition of larger parties, including the constitutional adherents in the ANC and the DA.

Will an ANC-EFF coalition keep the ANC in power?

Yes. See the answer above.

Will a DA-led coalition be able to unseat the ANC-led coalition government?

No. See the answer above.

The FF+ has the wisdom to understand that SA cannot have a white leader. What are the chances that the DA, for the sake of our country, will come to the same conclusion?

DA leader John Steenhuisen has said he is not wedded to being a presidential candidate for the Multi-Party Charter for South Africa, the early coalition arrangement of which the DA is a major part.

When Ferial Haffajee asked him this question at a meeting with Daily Maverick, he spoke about an academic or a different leader being asked to be the presidential candidate.

Have the rules for independent candidates changed so all candidates have the same opportunity and possibility to get elected?

No. The Electoral Amendment Act – passed to accede to a directive from the Constitutional Court – is widely regarded as a quick fix and not the substantial electoral overhaul needed to give substance to the support for independent candidates.

See Marianne Merten’s report here.

How do we ensure that coalitions focus on the problems of the City and not how to stay in power?

With extreme difficulty if the experiences of Johannesburg, Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, eThekwini and Nelson Mandela Bay are anything to go by. These coalitions are unstable, do not improve metropolitan governance and have, on the whole, resulted in worse outcomes than majority-party councils.

Why is it that, historically, the ANC does better in elections than the polls show?

The ANC election machine, active in 12,000 voting districts, gets into gear after polls have been done. The party runs sophisticated campaigns and also uses the power of its incumbency to promise it will do better next time. It has had some success, and also has deep historical links in its core voting districts.

How does one gauge support for an independent candidate?

Just ask them.

In some instances where independents are being supported by an umbrella movement (like Mmusi Maimane’s Build One South Africa), candidates have to show the endorsement by a sizeable number of individual and supportive signatories.

Most independents have social media pages and should have a history of activism and service, such as Zackie Achmat who is running in the Western Cape in 2024.

If you’re interested in supporting an independent candidate, start following their accounts and attend their events.

How is the Moonshot Pact (now called the Multi-Party Charter for South Africa) going to be identified on ballot papers? 

By its individual party affiliates, each of which will contest the elections on its own. The coalition arrangement kicks in after the elections.

Will Ramaphosa remain president if the ANC is still in government after the 2024 elections? 

Yes. This wasn’t always certain, but it is now. See this report.

In case you missed it: You, as the reader, have the opportunity to actively participate in our journalism by responding to polls and a variety of audience questions. Keep this page bookmarked for easy access to all our live audience questions.

This Your Questions Answered article was first published by email as a free newsletter to readers. Please sign up or adjust your sign-up here.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Nicholas Dowling says:

    There is very little information about BOSA , could you give us some more please?
    I am so tired of superstar politicians who have not helped our country one bit. Could we have someone super ordinary, not weak. Musi seems like a nice ordinary person. That is not meant to be negative. Being a “superstar” is.

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