Categories: GovernmentNews
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2023-11-28 8:26 AM

2024 South African Election: ANC’s Dominance Faces Historic Challenge

  • ANC's Eroding Majority: The article highlights the declining support for the ANC in South Africa, evidenced by its decreasing national vote share over recent elections, suggesting a potential loss of its long-standing majority in the upcoming 2024 general election.
  • Key Voter Concerns: Addressing voters' primary concerns, the piece underscores prevalent issues such as unemployment, corruption, load shedding, crime, and leadership weaknesses. These concerns intertwine with the ANC's diminishing popularity and may influence electoral outcomes.
  • Shift towards Coalition Politics: Anticipating a shift in the country's political landscape, the article emphasizes the likelihood of coalition politics emerging at both national and provincial levels. This trend, previously observed in metropolitan areas, indicates a departure from the traditional one-party dominance in South African politics.
By Miriam Matoma

The upcoming 2024 South African general election looms as a watershed moment that could reshape the country’s political terrain, potentially altering the incumbent ANC’s long-standing dominance.

Recent surveys paint a precarious picture for the ruling African National Congress (ANC), hinting at the possibility of it losing its enduring majority at the national and provincial levels, a departure from its unbroken three-decade streak since the nation’s democracy took root.

The political scenario remains fiercely contested, with an anticipated influx of over 200 political parties vying for positions in next year’s crucial elections.

The ANC has experienced a steady erosion in its support, notably at the national level since the 2004 elections. A pivotal moment came during the 2021 local government elections when the party’s national vote share dipped below 50%, plummeting from almost 58% in the previous general election to around 46%.

Several surveys, including one by the Social Research Foundation (SRF), have highlighted key concerns topping voters’ agendas in South Africa:

  • Unemployment (30%)
  • Corruption (24%)
  • Load shedding (19%)
  • Crime (10%)
  • Weak leadership (9%)
  • A failed political system (4%)
  • Poor policy (2%)
  • Access to land (1%)
  • Other (1%)

The ANC’s declining popularity intertwines with these issues, reflecting the country’s staggering unemployment rate, escalating crime rates, and a sense of economic stagnation characterized by negligible growth over the past decade.

Investec’s Chief Economist, Annabel Bishop, cited the ANC’s failure in driving substantial economic progress, issues in infrastructure like load shedding and Transnet’s freight capacity, alongside pervasive corruption and state capture as contributory factors.

Moreover, demographic shifts have played a role, with approximately 11.2 million of the 26.8 million registered voters falling between the ages of 18 and 39. The recent surge in new voter registrations among the youth underscores the emergence of a new political force in South Africa.

The trend of coalition politics, witnessed in metropolitan municipalities due to the absence of one-party dominance, is expected to extend to the national and provincial levels in 2024, underscoring a potentially fractured political landscape.

Despite current polls indicating a further decline in support for the ANC, projections remain volatile. Factors such as campaign dynamics, economic fluctuations, and the state of essential services could sway outcomes, making precise predictions challenging.

Acknowledging this shift, even the ANC is bracing for the prospect of failing to secure a majority in 2024. Talks on coalition governments signal the party’s acknowledgment of an altered political landscape.

Voter turnout stands as a pivotal determinant. With 26.8 million registered voters, the prevailing voter apathy in the country casts uncertainty on the potential turnout. Ipsos predicts a range between 45% to 50%, suggesting that lower turnout could favor the ANC, potentially pushing its support beyond the 50% mark.

Various predictions estimate outcomes for coalitions and opposition parties. The Multi-Party Charter for South Africa (MPC) is anticipated to garner significant support, potentially reaching around 31% to 38%, according to different forecasts.

However, it remains premature to definitively foretell the 2024 election’s outcome, hinging largely on the unpredictable turnout on election day.

Nonetheless, the 2024 general elections are poised to mark a pivotal juncture in South Africa’s political landscape, potentially signaling a departure from the entrenched dominance of a single party. The real impact, however, hinges on the electorate’s actual participation on voting day.

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Miriam Matoma

Miriam is a freelance writer, she covers economics and government news for Rateweb. You can contact her on: Email: miriam@rateweb.co.za Twitter: @MatomaMiriam