News / Africa

South Africa Election Results Promise Interesting Five Years

The ruling party president Jacob Zuma, center, sings and dances,  at a victory party downtown Johannesburg, South Africa,  following the announcement of the results for the 2014 national election result Saturday May 10, 2014
The ruling party president Jacob Zuma, center, sings and dances, at a victory party downtown Johannesburg, South Africa, following the announcement of the results for the 2014 national election result Saturday May 10, 2014
Anita Powell
With South Africa’s national elections settled, the country is looking at its most fractious parliament in years, with a surge in opposition representation.  

South Africa’s longtime ruling party, the African National Congress, easily won the election battle, taking 62 percent of the nation’s votes in last week election.

But with a surge in opposition representation in parliament the next five years in South Africa promise to provide great political entertainment.

In terms of legislation, what happens in the next five years largely boils down to the decisions of the ANC, which won 249 of 400 parliamentary seats.  But since the ANC does not get along with its biggest rival, the Democratic Alliance, that result has made unlikely kingmakers of the rowdy, far-left upstart Economic Freedom Fighters, which grabbed six percent of the national vote.

The EFF is led by rabble-rousing politician Julius Malema, who was kicked out of the ANC several years ago.

Analyst Aubrey Matshiqi says the fact the ANC lost its former two-thirds majority may force it to seek some strange bedfellows.  

“If the ANC needs a two-thirds majority to pass certain laws, or to change the constitution in certain ways, because it did not get a two-thirds majority on its own, it might have to negotiate with Julius Malema, so that together the ANC and the EFF can get such a two-thirds majority,” said Matshiqi.

Critics of the ANC say it needs all the help it can get.  Party leader President Jacob Zuma is entering his second term with a target on his back, a corruption scandal in which he is accused of spending $23 million of public money to renovate his private home.

A parliamentary investigation was dropped days before the vote because Mr. Zuma’s party said there was not enough time to complete their work before the election.  Mr. Zuma’s critics in parliament, and there are more than ever before with the ANC coming out of this vote losing 15 seats, are expected renew attacks on the president's integrity.  

The nation’s largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, continued to pick up supporters, winning about 22 percent nationally.  But days after the election, the party suffered a big loss when outspoken, quick-witted DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko announced she is leaving to study at Harvard.
 
DA spokesman Mmusi Maimane says the party will go on without her.

“Lindiwe Mazibuko is an individual in a party that has got some great systems.  The reality is, as a party, individuals come and go, but the party remains.  And I think the loss of Lindiwe Mazibuko, I do not see it as a loss, I think she is someone who is going to Harvard to go study.  She will return and will serve the DA in a different capacity if she chooses to do so,” said Maimane.

Maimane says the party will focus on efforts to gain supporters, particularly in urban areas like Johannesburg, where the ANC barely hung on to its majority.  

Analyst Matshiqi says the urban-rural divide will continue to plague the ANC.

“The outcome of this years elections suggests that in metropolitan areas such as Johannesburg, the ANC is in trouble.  ... Now, if it does not achieve an absolute majority in Johannesburg in 2016, what might happen for it to stay in government in Johannesburg, it might have to negotiate with the Economic Freedom Fighters and therefore become part of a coalition, a majority in Johannesburg.”

Mr. Zuma has previously described his nation as a young democracy, one that is figuring out what it wants to be.  Those awkward years, it seems, are coming during his second term.

You May Like

Official: S. Sudan President, Rebel Leader to Meet in Tanzania

Talks part of effort to end conflict in country that has left more than 10,000 people dead, displaced more than 1.5 million others More

Dutch Deny Link to Mystery Submarine off Sweden

Netherlands denies Russian claim that 'foreign vessel' photographed in waters off Sweden could be Dutch More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Lawi
X
William Ide
October 20, 2014 10:23 AM
China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Nigeria Agrees to Cease-Fire With Boko Haram

Islamist militant group Boko Haram and the Nigerian government have agreed to a cease-fire. The Nigerian government issued an order Friday, telling all military chiefs "to comply with the cease-fire agreement in all theaters of operations. Why now and the significance of the agreement are questions on some people’s minds. VOA's Mariama Diallo reports.
Video

Video Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

The offensive by Islamic State militants against the northern Syrian city of Kobani has caused hundreds of thousands of residents to flee to Turkey. They receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from the town of Suruc a few kilometers from the border.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.

All About America

AppleAndroid