South Africa’s ANC wins reelection


The ruling ANC has won South Africa’s general election, despite a steep dip in turnout. Corruption scandals and political infighting have seen support for the late Nelson Mandela’s party wane.

South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC) won reelection on Saturday with all votes counted, according to the electoral commission. The party has ruled South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994.

Despite a string of corruption scandals and low turnout, the ANC, led by incumbent President Cyril Ramaphosa, managed to garner 57% of the vote, which is the lowest ever share for the ANC.

In 2014, before claims of graft led to the resignation of Ramaphosa’s predecessor, Jacob Zuma, the ANC had won 62% of the vote.

Seats in parliament are allocated on the basis of the share of the vote. The party with the most representatives selects the president, who will be sworn in on May 25.

Minor parties and apathy
The main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, won just 20% of the vote, down 2% from the previous election.

The Economic Freedom Fighters, founded six years ago by former ANC youth leader Julius Malema, was in third place with 10.51%, an increase of 4% on 2014.

A group of 35 smaller parties lodged a complaint with the electoral commission on Friday, alleging irregularities and calling for an audit of the vote. A record 48 parties contested the elections.

Voter apathy was apparent after years of scandal and political infighting, with voter turnout dipping to 65% from 74% in 2014. About 26.8 million people were registered to vote.

Corruption lingers
While Ramaphosa ran on a campaign of rooting out government corruption, it is clear that not everyone in the ANC supports the president.

“This was the responsibility of the whole organization, the members on the ground and all the leadership,” said ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule, in a rebuttal to the claim that Ramaphosa’s popularity alone won them the vote.

As votes from South Africa’s remote rural areas continue to trickle in, the electoral commission is expected to real the official tally on Saturday afternoon.

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