The African National Congress party has offered a candid assessment of its 8 May election victory that saw the party win 58 percent of the national vote.
“We have learnt our lesson,” the ANC leader, President Cyril Ramaphosa said in reference to a reduced margin, the lowest winning margin recorded by the ruling party since the end of the apartheid system in 1994.
In the last election held in 2014, the ANC won 62.1 percent of the popular vote while in 2009, the party got 65.9 percent.
In this regard, the ANC has been losing some support in recent years under the former President Jacob Zuma, and Ramaphosa said the party is committed to “win back” its supporters by addressing the challenges facing the country such as corruption, unemployment and poor service delivery.
“We have heard the people of South Africa. We have heard the very clear message of what they expect from us,” he said.
Ramaphosa, who was scheduled to be sworn-in as President on 25 May, said it is important for all stakeholders to work together for a better South Africa.
“Let us now work together, black and white, men and women, young and old, to build a South Africa that truly belongs to all who live in it as proclaimed by our forebears,” he said.
The main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA) also lost support in this election, with the gains going to the third party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).
According to final results released by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), the DA was a distant second with 21 percent of the votes. In 2014 the party secured 22.2 percent.
The EFF led by the former ANC Youth League leader, Julius Malema, made significant gains as the party won 11 percent of the votes compared to 6.4 percent in 2014.
South Africa uses a system of Proportional Representation in which the electorate votes for a political party, not individuals.
The political party gets a share of seats in Parliament in direct proportion to the number of votes won in the election.
In this regard, the election results mean that the ANC has secured 230 seats in the Parliament, down from 249, while the DA has got 84 seats compared to 89 in 2014.
The EFF has almost doubled its parliamentary seats from 25 to 44 seats.
Other political parties that will be represented in the Parliament are Inkatha Freedom Party with 10 seats, Freedom Front Plus (10), African Christian Democratic Party (4), and the United Democratic Movement (3), while GOOD and the African Content Movement will have two seats each.
Other parties with two parliamentary seats are the National Freedom Party, African Independent Congress, and the Congress of the People, while the Al Jama-ah and the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania will have one seat each.
Under the South African Constitution, the President is elected by the National Assembly from among its members, usually the leader of the majority party, which in this case is Ramaphosa.
Once elected by the National Assembly, the candidate resigns from parliament and becomes the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Force.
The IEC in announcing the results, declared the 8 May elections as “free and fair”, and implemented a sampling technique conducted by Statistics South Africa for added transparency.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) said the elections in South Africa were held in confirminity with regional and international standards.
“The 2019 National and Provincial Elections in South Africa were conducted in an orderly and professional manner and within the requirements of the legal framework of the Republic of South Africa and further, in accordance with the revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections,” reads part of a statement released by SADC on 10 May.
A total of 48 members from the SADC Election Observation Mission (SEOM) observed the South African elections in three phases: the pre-election period, election-day and post-election.
Zambian Foreign Affairs Minister, Joseph Malanji was head of the SEOM.
The SEOM is expected to release and issue a comprehensive report within 30 days of the announcement of the results by the IEC in accordance with the provisions of the revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.
The African Union mission, headed by former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete also commended South Africa for holding a successful and peaceful election.
The 8 May elections were the sixth since the majority of South Africans were allowed to vote, with the end of apartheid system in 1994.
According to the IEC, voter turnout was about 65.9 percent.
More than 26.7 million South Africans had registered to vote on 8 May. - sardc.net.