South Africa Elections 2024 Explained in Maps and Charts | Elections News

On May 29, South Africans will vote in national and provincial elections to elect a new National Assembly and state legislatures. The National Assembly will elect the president for the next five years.

It will be the country’s seventh democratic general election since apartheid ended in 1994, when Nelson Mandela was elected president and the ANC won 62.5 percent of the 400 seats in the National Assembly.

After 30 years of dominance, the African National Congress (ANC) faces its toughest elections yet, needing 50 percent of the National Assembly to maintain its parliamentary majority.

(Al Jazeera)

When do the polls open?

A total of 23,292 polling stations will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (05:00 GMT to 19:00 GMT), and election day will be declared a holiday to facilitate voting.

According to the South African Electoral Commission (IEC), 27.79 million South Africans over the age of 18 have registered for this year’s elections, up from 26.74 million in 2019.

Registered voters living abroad will cast their votes on May 17 and 18, and voters with special needs, including pregnant women and people with disabilities, will cast their votes two days before election day, on the 27 and 28. of May.

How do elections work?

South Africa follows a proportional voting system in which parties and candidates compete for 400 seats in parliament known as the National Assembly.

For the first time in the elections, independent candidates will compete. To accommodate this change, voters will receive three ballots instead of two, each requiring the election of a party or candidate.

Two votes will be to elect the National Assembly and the third will be to elect members of the provincial legislature in each of South Africa’s nine provinces.

South Africa’s electoral management body, the IEC, cleared 14,889 candidates, including 70 political parties and 11 independents, to contest 887 seats in the May election.

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(Al Jazeera)
  • National vote (blue vote)
    • Same vote throughout the country
    • Voters choose one of 52 political parties
    • It represents 200 seats in the National Assembly.
  • Regional National Assembly (orange vote)
    • Unique for each province
    • Voters choose a political party or an independent candidate.
    • It represents the remaining 200 seats in the National Assembly.
  • Provincial Legislature (pink vote)
    • Unique for each province
    • Voters elect political parties and independent candidates.
    • The number of seats is determined by the size of the population of each province.

Who is in the current South African National Assembly?

The lower house of South Africa’s parliament currently includes 14 political parties represented by 400 members, allocated proportionally based on the votes each party received in the 2019 elections.

  • African National Congress (ANC): 230 seats (57.5 percent)
  • Democratic Alliance (DA): 84 seats (21 percent)
  • Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF): 44 seats (11 percent)
  • Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP): 14 seats (3.5 percent)

Ten other parties occupy the remaining 28 seats.

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(Al Jazeera)

How is the president elected in South Africa?

South Africans do not vote directly for the president.

Instead, they elect 400 members of the National Assembly, who then elect the president by simple majority: 201 or more votes determine the presidency.

If the ANC wins more than 50 per cent of the seats, President Cyril Ramaphosa, 71, will most likely be re-elected president to serve his second and final five-year term.

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(Al Jazeera)

What happens if no party wins a majority?

Opinion polls suggest the ruling ANC, which stands at around 40 percent, is likely to lose its majority.

If this happens, then the ANC will have to try to reach an agreement with other parties to form a coalition government, with the choice of coalition partner depending on its distance from the 50 percent mark.

However, unless the ANC performs much worse than expected, there is a small chance they could be removed from government entirely.

How did the ANC perform in previous elections?

The ANC has won every election since the end of apartheid in 1994, when Mandela became the country’s first black president.

In the 1994 and 1999 elections, the ANC won 62.5 percent and 66.36 percent of the vote respectively, with a high voter turnout of 86 percent and 89 percent.

In 2004, amid a lower voter turnout of 76 percent, the ANC reached its highest levels, winning almost 70 percent of the vote and securing Thabo Mbeki a second term as president.

In September 2008, Kgalema Motlanthe took over as acting president following the resignation of President Mbeki, at the request of his party. He held this position until 2009, when Jacob Zuma took office following the ANC’s victory with almost 66 per cent of the vote.

Five years later, in the 2014 elections, the ANC emerged victorious but with a reduced share of the vote, 62 percent. The Democratic Alliance (DA) made significant gains, winning 22 percent of the vote. The newly formed Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party, under former African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema, won 6 percent of the vote.

In 2018, after years of internal disputes and scandals, Zuma announced his resignation, leading to Vice President Cyril Ramaphosa taking over as president.

In the 2019 election, voter turnout hit a low of 66 percent, with the ANC receiving 57.5 percent of the vote.

INTERACTIVE - Elections in South Africa - results of previous elections-1716730754
(Al Jazeera)

Who is likely to win?

Four of the main players to watch out for in this year’s elections are the ANC, the DA, the MK and the EFF.

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(Al Jazeera)

African National Congress – Cyril Ramaphosa (71)

According to the latest opinion poll by local broadcaster eNCA, support for the ANC stands at around 43.4 per cent, an increase of two points from two months ago.

The ANC is expected to win majorities in seven of South Africa’s nine provinces.

However, he is expected to be defeated by Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) party in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), and also in the Western Cape, where the DA is set for another victory.

District Attorney: John Steenhuisen (48)

In second place, with around 18.6 percent, is the country’s official opposition DA party, which has been campaigning on a platform to “rescue South Africa.”

Currently, the DA has a majority in the South African province of the Western Cape, whose capital is Cape Town. In the 2019 elections he obtained 55.45 percent of the votes in the province.

MK-Jacob Zuma (82)

The MK party, named after the ANC’s former paramilitary wing, uMkhonto we Sizwe (meaning “Spear of the Nation”), is currently in third place in the polls with 14.1 percent.

The party led by former president Zuma was formed in 2023 and is expected to gain seats from the ANC.

In May, South Africa’s Constitutional Court banned Zuma from running for parliament following his conviction for contempt of court in 2021; However, he remains the face of the party and is expected to present a party candidate as his replacement.

EFF – Julio Malema (43)

Among the top four, with 11.4 percent, is the anti-establishment EFF led by Julius Malema.

Malema, a former ally of Zuma, was expelled from the ANC in 2012 due to disagreements with the then president and other party members. He then created the EFF in 2013.

When will the results be announced?

The IEC typically begins publishing partial results within hours of polls closing.

In the last national elections held on Wednesday, May 8, 2019, the final results were announced three days later, on Saturday, May 11.

However, this year, with one more ballot to count, checking the results may take longer.

The IEC says it will announce the election results on Sunday, June 2.

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