South Africa’s President Ramaphosa Urges National Unity Following ANC’s Historic Loss of Majority

Discontent over unemployment, economic disparity, and persistent power cuts whittled down the ANC’s voter support to 40.2 percent, a steep drop from the 57.5 percent it held in 2019.

The main rival, the Democratic Alliance (DA), captured 21.6 percent, while the up-and-coming uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK), steered by ex-president Jacob Zuma, seized 14.7 percent, cornering a portion of the ANC’s base.

The official tally showed the ANC securing 159 spots in the 400-seat National Assembly, a significant reduction from 230.

“Our country demands that elected parties bridge their divides, collaborate, and prioritize the collective good,” Ramaphosa declared post-results announcement by the electoral commission.

He celebrated the poll as a “triumph for our democracy.”

Adding to this, Ramaphosa emphasized, “Now more than ever, it’s time to prioritize our nation.”

From the Results Operation Centre in Midrand, Mike Hanna of Al Jazeera reported that the ANC is scouting solutions to form a stable government.

“Without a coalition partner, the ANC faces the tough task of governing solo, potentially stymying its legislative agenda,” he explained.

Charting the course ahead

Contrition marked the ANC’s stance post-election, with acknowledgments of their shortcomings. Yet, they affirmed support for Ramaphosa, a key figure in dismantling apartheid. Calls for his resignation were firmly rebutted.

The disappointing result sparked rumors of Ramaphosa’s precarious position, stemming either from coalition demands or internal party strife.

“Off the table,” stated Fikile Mbalula, ANC’s secretary-general. “Yes, there were missteps, but our commitment is towards a stable, functional government,” he reported during the first press briefing post-election.

Parties have a fortnight to forge alliances before the parliament reconvenes to select a president, with the ANC likely to maintain predominance.

Reports suggest the DA may consider a deal supporting the ANC in crucial votes in exchange for significant parliamentary roles, with the Inkatha Freedom Party possibly joining this pact.

“The ANC would probably partner with the IFP as well, given how predominantly white the DA is perceived,” noted political analyst Melanie Verwoerd.

Come Tuesday, ANC leaders convene to strategize their next moves.

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