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

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid