South Africa

2024 ELECTIONS

Voters abroad back DA, EFF in second place, while ANC receives a smackdown

Voters abroad back DA, EFF in second place, while ANC receives a smackdown
DA leader John Steenhuisen arrives at the National Results Operation Centre in Midrand on 31 May 2024. He told reporters that he was confident that South Africa was headed into an era of multiparty politics, though scathing of IEC’s performance in managing voting, saying he believed that the organisation's mismanagement of the voting process had likely cost the DA at least 1% of the vote. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

Overseas voters gave strong support to the DA, with newcomers the uMkhonto Wesizwe (MK) party also showing itself as a political challenger among South Africans abroad, beating well-established parties in the pool of out-of-country voters.  

The DA has won the out-of-country vote in the 2024 general elections, with 75.2% support abroad. 

Out-of-country support for the ANC has nosedived in the 2024 polls, according to the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC). In the 2019 general election, the ANC received 10.8% of the out-of-country vote. In the latest polls, the party’s support has declined to 3.9% abroad. The stunning decline in the ruling party’s support abroad shows that out-of-country voters are in tune with its governance failures back home. 

South Africans gather to vote in the Netherlands. 18 May 2024. (Photo: Rebecca Pitt)

The DA’s 75.2% support from overseas voters in 2024 compares well with the 2019 general elections, when it received 74.4%. 

The party’s deputy campaign manager, Ashor Sarupen, said the DA was “very happy” to have seen so many South Africans voting abroad. 

“The DA has spent several months reaching out to South Africans abroad, who are patriotic citizens that want what’s best for South Africa, and asking them to consider registering and voting abroad. We made a compelling offer to all South Africans that our country is worth rescuing,” he told Daily Maverick. 

The EFF is in second place, growing from 3.8% of the out-of-country vote in the 2019 general election, to 4.4% of the vote in 2024. 

The EFF’s Floyd Shivambu at the IEC ROC. (Photo: Victoria O’Regan)

Former president Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto Wesizwe (MK) party made its mark overseas, garnering 1.2% of the out-of-country vote – beating well-established parties like the Patriotic Alliance with 0.98%, the African Christian Democratic Party with 0.73% and Good with 0.41%. 

The Inkatha Freedom Party and the United Democratic Movement have also fallen below the MK party in terms of support abroad. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Duduzile Zuma says MK open to working with ANC — sans Ramaphosa

The IEC data portal shows a total of 39,116 voters cast their ballots abroad out of an eligible voter pool of 58,802. 

This represents a 67% voter turnout – 1% lower than the voting abroad turnout in 2019 (68%). 

A 67% voter turnout at diplomatic missions abroad is significantly higher than the dismal turnout being recorded in South Africa. With 97.7% of voting districts having reported their results, the voter turnout reflected on the IEC portal stands at 58.5%. 

Daily Maverick previously reported the pool of eligible voters abroad is tiny compared to the numbers at home. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Tears, cheers and beers as South Africans in their thousands cast their ballots in the Netherlands

Songezo Zibi, Rise Mzansi Leader during a campaign trail at Dumani Primary School in KwaMashu on May 27, 2024 in Durban. (Photo by Gallo Images/Darren Stewart)

Political newcomer Rise Mzansi holds the fourth-largest party mantle, with 3.54% of the out-of-country vote, ahead of the Freedom Front Plus (3.03%) and ActionSA (3%). 

Speaking to Daily Maverick, Rise Mzansi deputy campaign manager Mabine Seabe said the party was pleased with its overseas results. 

“Over the last year, we picked up that there were patriotic South Africans living out-of-country who supported Rise Mzansi. In the sense that ‘every vote counts’, we established Rise Mzansi Global, with a particular focus on the UK, because of the high concentration of South Africans there,” he said. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Rise Mzansi launches, but mixed views on the mushrooming of political parties ahead of 2024 polls

For a party that is just over one year old, Rise Mzansi did well, “attracting votes from Tokyo, London, Cairo and elsewhere”, Seabe said. 

“The logistics of voting out-of-country can be cumbersome and logically burdensome, but we were told of people travelling several hours to place their ‘X’ next to Rise Mzansi,” Seabe said. 

The percentage of votes cast at each diplomatic mission is not clear from the data on the IEC portal. Daily Maverick sent questions to the IEC, but had not received a response at the time of publication. DM

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