The African National Congress (ANC) has won South Africa’s fifth general election with former militant ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) coming third after the Democratic Alliance (DA).
Announcing the results, monitored by VOA Zimbabwe Service on Twitter and Facebook, the chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa, Pansy Tlakula, said the ANC garnered 62 percent of the 18,654 457 votes cast with 251,960 spoilt votes.
The former liberation movement retained control of the National Assembly with 249 seats followed by the DA (89), EFF (25), Inkatha Freedom Party (10) and 26 others sharing the remaining seats ranging from six to one per party.
Tlakula said, “The majority party in South Africa’s fifth National Assembly with a total of 249 out of 400 seats is the African National Congress. To those parties/candidates who won seats, we hope you will serve South Africa with pride, honour, integrity and humility.
“A record 29 parties contested the 2014 elections and 13 received sufficient votes to have representation in National Assembly.”
Tlakula further said, “As we celebrate two decades of democracy and conclude the 2014 elections we can affirm democracy is alive and well and thriving in our land. We are joined by a democratic ideal which we enacted in 1994 … Much to be proud of as a nation.”
Opposition parties like the DA and EFF offered a strong challenge to the ANC, especially in Gauteng province where they garnered 33 seats in provincial polls compared to the ANC’s 40 seats.
At least 73 percent of registered voters turned out to choose candidates of their choice. There were 25,381,293 registered voters for the 2014 national election.
The ANC currently led by Jacob Zuma received 11,436 654 votes, which is less than the 11,650 748 votes (65.9%) it received in 2009.
Its support in Gauteng province, the country’s economic heartland, decreased from 64.04% in 2009 to 53.63%, the party's worst provincial performance in 2014.
An analysis of the results shows the Democratic Alliance increased its support nationally from 16.66% in 2009 to 22.22% (4,089 043 votes), while the Economic Freedom Fighters garnered the third highest support with 6.35% (1,160 208 votes).
Among the worst performers was the Congress of the People (COPE) which polled 7.42% in 2009, but decreased to a mere 0.67% (123,221 votes) in 2014.
Inkatha Freedom Party received the fourth highest number of votes with 2.4% (441,853 votes). In a surprise result its breakaway party, the National Freedom Party of Zanele Magwaza-Misibi, came fifth with 1.57% (288,742 votes).
This was the first time the NFP contested a national election.
Bantu Holomisa's United Democratic Movement increased its support from 0.85% in 2009 to one percent (184 622 votes), with the sixth highest share of votes.
The Freedom Front Plus followed, having improved its support from 0.83% in 2009 to 0.9% (165 464 votes), while the African Christian Democratic Party polled 0.57% of the vote (103 981 votes).
Mamphela Ramphele's Agang SA was among the poor performers on the day, with only 0.28% (52 334 votes) of the national vote.
Other parties which had previously won seats in the National Assembly such as the Minority Front, United Christian Democratic Party, the Pan Africanist Congress, Azanian People's Organisation and African People's Convention were all but routed at the poll.
In the Western Cape, the DA retained power with 59.38% of the vote, and for the first time became the official opposition in KwaZulu-Natal relegating the IFP to third place in President Zuma’s home province.
In the North West and Limpopo the ANC retained power but the embattled Cope, which had previously been the official opposition in both provinces, was replaced by Malema’s EFF.
Observers say it will be difficult to beat the ANC in any election as the opposition is too divided to offer a strong challenge to the former liberation movement.
Independent political analyst David Monyae said the EFF's sterling performance is linked to its campaign trail which raised bread and butter issues, the unsettled land question and ownership of mines.