South Africa election 2014

7 May is the general election in South Africa. I suppose we know which party will win. But by how much?

18 thoughts on “South Africa election 2014

    • Disproportionately from the Northern and Western Cape – 23% of the votes counted so far come from these two provinces, which comprise 14% of the electorate. DA is polling far better results in both provinces than in the rest of the country, and this in turn skews the early nationwide totals.

      SABC News and News24 also have live election results pages here and here; personally, I found the News24 page to be the faster and more user-friendly of the two.

    • With more than ninety percent of the vote tallied in the Western Cape, DA has now come down to 57.5% on the national ballot, and 59.5% on the provincial ballot – which nonetheless constitute substantial increases from their previous 2009 standings.

      Meanwhile, ANC is polling 33.8% of the province’s vote in the national ballot, and 32.7% in the provincial ballot – figures which are in line with the Black Africans’ one-third share of the province’s population.

      On a nationwide basis, with just over 70% of the vote tallied, ANC stands at 62.6% – coincidentally, the party’s 1994 share of the vote – and DA at 22.4% (just slightly above the combined 22.1% polled by NNP and DP twenty years ago). Meanwhile, Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is now running third with 5.3% of the vote; that figure is likely to increase, as most of the outstanding votes are from the northern provinces in which the party is running stronger. In fact, EFF is now outpolling DA in Limpopo (ex-Northern Province/Northern Transvaal) and the North-West.

  1. With 93.64% counted it looks like the ANC will suffer a small swing and the country has a three-party system.

    The ANC will not have the 2/3 constitutional majority they wanted and they will be nowhere near the 75% majority to amend Section 1 which entrenches the fundamental principles of the constitution. They could conceivably pass amendments with the support of the EFF, which opposes most of the constitution, but I’m not sure co-operating with the EFF is politically feasible.

    The DA retains the Western Cape and will be the official opposition except in the the North West and Limpopo. COSATU, the union federation which is part of the governing tripartite alliance with the ANC and the SACP has major rifts with its largest member, NUMSA demanding a special congress and refusing to support the ANC. We could feasibly see a union-based party at the next election which could perhaps threaten the ANC’s hold on the working class and the rural poor.

    Zuma may be the first president to serve 2 full terms. Mandela refused a second term. Mbkei was ‘redeployed’ before he completed his second term. There are signs of a succession struggle breaking out with Zuma suddenly announcing the next president could be a woman, which will not have been deputy news to the ANC deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa.

    The other parties now come very close to microparty status and even the IFP, the largest of them, is in steady decline. Considering the IFP once held government in KwaZulu-Natal they have come a long way down. Mamphela Ramphele, the leader of Agang SA, has to contemplate being the sole MP for her party.

  2. It looks like it is 1994 all over again. It’s a good thing that South Africa is using a pure proportionate closed party list system. It is so much better than FPTP used in India and Malaysia, no massive seat bonuses, the great thing about a party list system is that no districts are ever gerrymandered. The most amazing thing about South Africa is that the ANC wins such a huge majority under such a system. One would think that this electoral system would lead to an atomize party system like in the Netherlands, South Africa is a long ways away from the fragmentation seen in the Netherlands.

    Who are the voters for the DA? It seems ironic that the DA are White Liberals oppose to Apartheid, Apartheid is abolished, and now South Africa is 20 years away from it, and they are opposed to the ANC, it seems like they are always in perpetual opposition. They were to the left of the National Party, and now they are to the right of the ANC. How long will the ANC run South Africa? 40 years plus like the Swedish Social Democrats (1932-1976). Isn’t that the party they want to emulate?

    • Actually, Rob, India does not have “massive seat bonuses”, at least not measured by disproportionality. Of course, almost all electoral systems appear fairly disproportional when compared to South Africa, which has one of the lowest effective thresholds of any democracy.

      Malaysia really does not belong in the same dissuasion, as it is not a democracy, and its non-independent electoral commission assures malapportionment (and, I believe, also gerrymandering) in favor of the ruling bloc.

  3. I would not call the DA white liberals, although they belong to the tradition of figures like Helen Suzman, for many years the only opposition member in the white parliament. They are the party of Cape Coloreds, the largest ethnic group in the Western Cape, of urban white Afrikaners, and increasingly of middle-class blacks. That is not a winning demographic while the working class and the rural poor remain loyal to the ANC but the DA has done well in urban areas, picking up, for example, some large municipalities in the Eastern Cape.

    Helen Zille is never going to be president of South Africa, but Mmusi Maifane just might.

    Incidentally the Johannesberg city council, where Maifane is opposition leader, is going to be interesting. The ANC and the DA are even with the EFF holding the balance of power.

    • Alan is right about DA having expanded its support beyond its white base to encompass Coloreds and an increasing number of black middle-class voters, but that said the party faces pretty much the same challenge PFP and DP had to deal with in the past, albeit on a much larger scale: expanding its fairly limited support among the majority group with voting rights (Afrikaners in the days of white minority rule, blacks at the present time). In fact, some of the anti-DA rhetoric coming from ANC (“DA will bring back Apartheid” i.e. it will be the undoing of black people) strangely echoes the old National Party’s nonsensical arguments that PFP’s power sharing proposals were tantamount to “white suicide.”

      As for IFP, the party suffered a damaging split a few years ago, which led to the foundation of the National Freedom Party (NFP); the latter party appears to have attracted a substantial number of erstwhile IFP voters.

  4. South Africa’s new left party Economic Freedom Fighters, in its first election campaign, has formed the official opposition in its stronghold province of Limpopo, but with only 10.25%. It is also the official opposition in North West Province. Nationally, with 5.93%, it will hold 23 of the 400 seats. A group of once ANC-affiliated youth politicians who were ousted from their positions within the ruling party seek to continue pursuing political life by mobilising others looking for a new political home and create a new entity which in the space of less than a year is able to present itself as a force to be reckoned with.

    The previous left party, the Congress of the People, has crumbled after factional fighting, dropping from 30 seats to only two. It had been the official opposition in Eastern Cape province, but has dropped from nine seats to only one.

    • I’m not sure I’d be comfortable referring to the EFF as a party of the left.

      Ramphele, herself a distinguished figure from the struggle, described them as fascist during the campaign. and their campaign style was a weird mix of old-fashioned personality cult and struggle aesthetics.

      Their commander-in-chief, Julius Malema, has convictions for corruption and tax evasion and a long record of rent-seeking.

      Their economic project is essentially to undo the 1994 settlement and institute a command economy. The party constitution does not make for a whole lot of internal democracy.

      On the other hand, adopting the dress of industrial cleaners as the party uniform was an act of cinematic genius.

      I’d think the real party of the left is the one being planned by NUMSA, the country’s largest union.

      • I find it difficult to consider a racially-based populist party as ‘extreme left.’ They have much more in common with the Dutch PVV than the SP or a group like Syriza.

        The ANC has essentially become a patronage-based populist party, though one which is nominally social democratic. The EFF represents a breakaway from an extreme wing of the ANC, which calls for measures like increased affirmative action and expropriating white-owned farms–essentially Mugabist.

        If one accepts the DA as center-right, which I do not, and the ANC as center-left, which is a stronger case, one could conceivably call the EFF ‘far-left’ as they’re even further away from the DA than the ANC mainstream.

        Perhaps it’s an example of horeshoe theory, which holds that the extreme left and right are fare closer to one another than they are to the center.

      • The EFF’s programme is one of far-reaching wealth redistribution and the establishment of, as Alan said, a command economy. Indeed, the rich from whom the property is to be redistributed from can largly be distinguished by the colour of their skin, but I don’t know why that should disqualify them as some strand of left-wing; I would say they go much further than the PVV, SP or Syriza, which is why I’d classify them as extreme. The term ‘populist’, meanwhile, I find a lot less useful and more ambiguous than ‘left-wing’.

        As to the horseshoe, it is of course very correct, but to a great extent that is because there’s nothing particularly right-wing in terms of economic policy about ‘far-right’ ideologies, which almost always advocate a large role for government in the economy (although the extent differs, of course). I think it was Hayek that pointed out in the Road to Serfdom that the activists that most easily switched to the NSDAP were Communists, and vice-versa, even though they were ‘sworn enemies’; they were both authoritarian parties offering authoritarian solutions to the country’s problem, economic and otherwise. Meanwhike, the Italian fascists arose from syndicalism.On the other hand, the model is inadequate as it leaves no real place for libertarians and most importantly anarcho-capitalists – the ‘real’ extreme ‘right’.

  5. Both left-right terminology and “populist” are often mis-used. In fact, “populist” is almost devoid of common meaning, having been applied to such a wide range of parties and governments over time. And, indeed, many European “far right” parties favor significant government social policy, which one would normally call “left”. That much also can be said about the original fascist parties. (“National Socialism” was more than just clever branding for the marketplace of the time.)

    But if a party supports a command economy, I think “extreme left” is a pretty good description.

  6. I see similarities between Berlusconi and Malema. Both have made an art-form of rent-seeking, both legal and illegal. Both propose ‘populist’ policies in the sense of policies designed to draw electoral support rather than actually to work. Both head parties that are mainly personal vehicles for their own ambition.

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