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Elections in South Africa.

Coen van Wyk

Posted on May 12, 2019 06:38

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The South African elections are history, politicians are taking a break, and the Electoral Commission is auditing some results and facing a slew of legal challenges. But the results are not going to change: The ruling ANC has a reduced majority, the electorate is increasingly disinterested in voting, and the extremist trends are getting stronger.

After an exhausting campaign for what was described as ‘the most important elections in the history of South Africa (were elections not always the most important in history?), the 25th anniversary of democracy was saluted by an election that produced few real surprises.

Voters found little inspiration. 'Crappy choice' by Zapiro sums it up. 

A few cases of violence were recorded – protests about service delivery, municipal delineation, and other local issues caused activists to threaten voters and obstruct polling stations. Several were arrested.

Change? Zapiro


More newsworthy were the procedural lapses. The Independent Electoral Commission had invested in indelible ink to mark voters left thumbs, but apparently the ink could be washed off (mine is still there four days later), and an electronic system to check identity documents in the waiting lines did not function as expected. I was wrongly warned that I might not be on the voter’s roll. In other cases people were able to be scanned multiple times. Two people apparently presented themselves several times to vote, having washed off the ink. They bragged about this on social media and were promptly arrested. Over a thousand polling stations are being audited as a result.

Indelible ink not so indelible?

Some smaller parties were not happy. The Pan-Africanist Black Land First party, having promised a drastic policy on expropriating land for black communities, were soundly rejected by the electorate, and will not field a single representative in Parliament or in any of the provinces. Their leader, Andile Mngxitama, claimed that the media and the Electoral Commission had robbed them from victory, but declined to lodge a legal protest.

Marking thumbs. CGIS

Smaller parties objected that they had been marginalized by the media and the Electoral Commission, but several of them did make it into Parliament against all predictions.

More interesting though: The Economic Freedom Fighters, extremist and black nationalist, saw an increase in their parliamentary seats from 25 to 44, while the official opposition, having had a lacklustre campaign, lost 5 seats. The ruling African National Congress, amidst severe internal conflict, lost 19 seats, and now hold 57.5% of the votes in Parliament. Other parties that represent extreme trends also showed gains.

How it went 25 years ago. AP/Farrell

All eyes will now be on President Ramaphosa, who has promised to reduce his Cabinet and clean out his party. Speculation is rife about possible pruning to the Party’s official list of Parliamentarians, as several had been found unfit for office by the party’s ethics committee.

Will he be able to use this mandate to reduce corruption and restore confidence? As it is, voter turnout was down, and the youth vote did not appear.

President Ramaphosa quipped: We'll take it from here. News24.com

Only time will tell.
 

Coen van Wyk

Posted on May 12, 2019 06:38

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Source: Al Jazeera

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