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South Africa should reconsider regulations on coalitions – political analyst

The ANC has failed to secure an outright majority in general elections, leading to questions over which form the government will take

South Africa must consider tighter regulations on political coalitions in order to ensure a stable government, Terry Tselane, the founder and executive chairman of the Institute of Election Management Services in Africa, has told RT in an exclusive interview. 

His remarks came shortly after the African National Congress (ANC) failed to win a majority in South Africa’s general election for the first time in 30 years.  

Tselane, who is also a former vice-chairperson of the Electoral Commission of South Africa, emphasized that the ANC now finds itself in a delicate position.   

According to Tselane, the party has the option of forming coalitions with the Democratic Alliance, the Umkhonto Wesizwe party, or the Economic Freedom Fighters – all of which could involve significant shifts for the ANC. 

“Either it is going to go to the left or to the right, depending on the balance of forces within the organization and what they think is strategic in terms of taking the issues forward,” he explained. Tselane further stressed the need for South Africa to “begin to seriously consider regulating coalitions” to streamline and stabilize future governance. 

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The Independent Electoral Commission National Results Center, Midrand, South Africa, May 31, 2024.
ANC loses 30-year majority in South Africa

Admitting the challenges ahead, Obed Bapela, deputy chair of the ANC International Relations Sub-Committee, outlined the immediate issues that the party must tackle. “We [the ANC] will definitely have to work very hard after reflecting on what exactly are the issues,” he said.  

“Some of the issues we know, service delivery being one, water, roads and electricity, that have affected South Africa for so many years,” Bapela stated. He also highlighted pressing concerns over youth unemployment, escalating crime rates, gender-based violence, and corruption. 

Polling opened in South Africa last week, with 28 million voters eligible to elect new members of the National Assembly, as well as regional parliaments. More than 50 parties were vying for power, including a significant number of new contenders.  

With ballot-counting completed in 99.9% of all voting districts, the ANC leads with 40.18% of the vote, followed by the opposition centrist Democratic Alliance party with 21.81%, and the left-wing Umkhonto Wesizwe at 14.58% of the vote. 

The ANC is projected to have secured 159 seats in the 400-seat parliament, a decline from 230 seats. Critics have accused the government of not delivering on its pledge of “a better life for all,” pointing to ongoing issues with crime, poverty, and high unemployment in Africa’s top industrialized nation.  

Nelson Mandela first guided the ANC to triumph in 1994 in the first post-Apartheid democratic elections, although it has faced increasing scrutiny in recent years.

June 03, 2024 at 04:45PM

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