Over 28 million registered voters in South Africa to elect new president

Mekelle፡26 May 2024 (Tigray Herald)

On 29th May 2024, about 28 million registered voters in South Africa will troop to their polling stations to elect a new leadership to lead the country for the next 5 years.

By Pauline Njoroge

Kenya and South Africa have had excellent diplomatic and People’s relations over the years with the most recent milestone being lifting of VISA requirement for Kenyans and South Africans. The trust and cordial relations have seen the African Union appoint H.E Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, the former president of Kenya to lead its observer mission during these elections. Kenyatta is an astute leader and a highly respected Statesman, who has been entrusted with other significant AU engagements including the Ethiopia-Tigray Peace process.

The purpose of the observer mission to South Africa is to provide impartial reporting and assessment of the elections, offer recommendations for improvement of future elections based on the findings, and demonstrate AU’s solidarity and support towards South Africa’s elections and democratization process in line with the union’s various instruments.

The voters, 42% of whom are young people, will elect provincial and national leaders that they hope will take the initiative of managing the country’s socio-economic and political affairs.

Unlike Kenya, South Africa uses a Proportional Representation electoral system whereby voters vote for a political party as opposed to individual candidates. At the National Assembly level, there are 400 Seats while the National Council Of Provinces(NCOP) has 90 seats. The seats are allocated based on the percentage of votes garnered by each party in the elections. It is important to note that South Africans don’t vote for their president directly; instead, MPs in the Country’s National Assembly convene on the 14th day after the announcement of election results by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to elect a president.

The 112-year-old Africa National Congress (ANC has ruled South Africa for the last 30 years since its independence and has been the most dominant political outfit, however recently the party’s political dominance has come under a threat with each election the party experiencing a 5% decline in the general support between 2009 and 2019 and has experienced a shrinkage in support of up to 13% between 2019 and 2024.

In the current elections, ANC is expected to face off with more than 10 political parties some of which have formed a coalition. The most significant political  opponents are the main opposition party the Democratic Alliance (DA) which is a right-wing political party but draws its support from the country’s middle class. Historically DA has been getting at least 20% of the votes. There is also the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) led by firebrand youthful politician Julius Sallo Malema, formerly an ANC youth-wing leader. The EFF subscribes to left-wing ideologies which include compulsory seizure and expropriation of Land without compensation as a wealth re-distribution strategy from the minority white to the majority black South Africans. From recent reports and polls, the EFF is said to have the support of the 11% of the total voters mostly from the youth.

Of interest to note is the entry of former president Jacob Zuma’s new party, Umkhonto We Sizwe, into the political landscape. However, the Constitutional Court has agreed with the Electoral Commission’s legal interpretation that Zuma is ineligible to vie based on his conviction and sentencing for being in contempt of court, the court and IEC have stated that the party can nominate any other person to appear on the ballot.  It will be fascinating to see how this pans out and how it will affect the party’s fortunes on the ballot.

We wish the great people of South Africa all the best as they prepare to vote. May peace reign and may the feature of their country and be great!

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button