South Africa


Elections declared free and fair: Six things you need to know now

Elections declared free and fair: Six things you need to know now
President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the nation from the IEC National Results Operations Centre after the results were declared. Photo: Richard Stupart

This article originally appeared as an elections newsletter by Ferial Haffajee. Here are the top six things you need to know after the national and provincial elections have been declared as free and fair.

1. Parliament’s going to be all sorts of crazy interesting

This chart shows how Parliamentary seats will be allocated. This arm of government is set to become the place where the shape of the polity will be decided. That can be both a good or bad thing. Good, if it enhances Parliament’s ability to be a genuine voice of the people. Bad, if it descends into populist chaos and chest-beating.

2. ‘I’m not yet extinguished’

President Cyril Ramaphosa joked about IEC chairperson Mosotho Moepya’s mix-up of “distinguished guests” with “extinguished guests”. He also said that he wished it was the announcement of the IEC 2019 national election outcome – after Moepya had welcomed guests to the “2019” instead of “2024” election results.

Ramaphosa was in good spirits, saying it was essential that South Africans found common ground. He also accepted the election results as a fair outcome of the views of South Africans. It doesn’t look like he is leaving.

3. Here are the final results and turnout charts

About 26 million* South Africans who are eligible to vote, eventually decided against doing so. Maybe they were busy. Maybe they were protesting. Maybe, they don’t see the value or benefit of participatory democracy. Either way, it is something that we should all be thinking about very carefully as we go forward. * the total voting age population is 43 million people. Of those only 27.7 million registered and about 16 million voted.

4. Answering some of your results questions

Q: “With MK being anti-constitution, what coalitions would give them the two-thirds majority needed to change the constitution, and how likely are these based on other parties’ views?”

Ferial: An ANC, DA and EFF coalition would give the partners a two-thirds majority. So would an ANC, MK, EFF coalition. Nothing we’ve heard suggests the ANC is looking to change the Constitution. In fact, it has consistently defended constitutional values this week.

Q: “If MK and others take the IEC to court about the election results, will that affect the electoral timetable? Would it impact the swearing in of MPs, the nomination of the president, etc.?”

Ferial: No. A court case doesn’t stop the electoral timetable, the IEC told me.

5. DA appoints negotiating team, officially ends MPC coalition

The Democratic Alliance has appointed a negotiating team to lead talks about coalitions in national government, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, DA leader John Steenhuisen announced.

The team is composed of Helen Zille, Ivan Meyer, Siviwe Gwarube, Alan Winde, Tony Leon and Ryan Coetzee. The DA also formally ended its commitments to the Multi-Party Charter (MPC) pact of nine parties established in August. The MPC did not achieve a majority nationally or in any province.

Steenhuisen said the DA would not yield South Africa’s future to a coalition of the ANC, MK and EFF, which together could easily form a government nationally and also in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

About the election results and uMkhonto Wesizwe’s (MK’s) astonishing debut, Steenhuisen said: “It is not the outcome we wanted, but the one we must deal with. We will face up to this challenge; we won’t bury our heads in the sand.

6. Rebecca Davis monitored some of the political put-downs heard at the National ROC

Politicians are not known for their humility and graciousness. In election season, they are even meaner to each other. A few of the most memorable put-downs of our election week:

  • Julius Malema to the ANC: “No more money for slay queens. It’s done! We have taken the purse.”
  • Malema to ActionSA: “Herman Mashaba will have to go back to selling hair products.”
  • EFF party agents to ANC chair Gwede Mantashe on the results floor: “We want to welcome the new minority party.”
  • Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald to ANC’s Mantashe: “You’re in trouble”. Mantashe to Groenewald: “The same trouble as you.”
  • ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula on Rise Mzansi: “If Oppenheimer loved us, he would give us money. He gave it to Rise Mzansi. I don’t see them here” [gesturing at the leader board].
  • Mbalula on Build One South Africa: “We will even talk to those who do not have the numbers. Look at Maimane! From a presidential candidate to now a willing backbencher.”

Election quick links



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