South Africa’s ANC poised for election victory

There are manifold reasons why Africa’s oldest political movement remains so popular

President Ramaphosa's appeal for a convincing mandate to tackle sleaze within the African National Congress appears to have fallen on deaf ears after projections suggested that the party was heading for its worst national election result since the end of apartheid.

An updated count on South Africa's election results on Friday morning showed the ruling party, the ANC headed toward victory, although well below its count from five years ago.

Most opinion surveys before the vote had suggested the ANC would secure almost 60 percent of the vote because of Ramaphosa's appeal and a fractured opposition. Both the ANC and the far-left Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) promised land expropriation without compensation.

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, a government agency, also forecast a decline in support, predicting the ANC would get just over 57 percent of the parliamentary vote and about 50 percent in the provincial polls.

People queue to vote for South Africa's national and provincial elections at a polling station in the Tlhabologang township in Coligny on May 8, 2019.

But for many voters, disillusion with the political system can be traced to the continued inequality that South Africans face, despite the country being one of the richest on the African continent.

The economy, Africa's most industrialized, grew an estimated 0.8 percent in 2018 after recovering from a recession in the first half of the year when a drought hit farming, although blackouts at power utility Eskom continue to drag on activity.

Frustrated black South Africans are demanding a fairer distribution of land, and the party has been blighted by corruption allegations and a slowing economy. As of 0330 GMT, more than 1.3 million votes had been processed out of around 26.8 million registered voters.

What do they think about the progress of the free South Africa they voted for? While the Western Cape and the Northern Cape reporting over 90% of votes captured.

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"It was so hard here in those days", she said, recalling how she and her friends were often detained by police because they did not have permission to work in Johannesburg.

More than 40 smaller parties also took part in the election.

Based on those results, analysts predicted the ANC was set for a vote share of between 55 and 59 percent.

The DA won 22 per cent of the parliamentary vote in 2014, giving it the second biggest number of seats in the National Assembly.

If the ANC does secure those votes, then they haven't been held properly accountable for 25 years of criminal mismanagement, and there's also a greater chance that they will take hold of key provinces and metros around the country.

But, despite growing political disillusionment, election day in South Africa still evinces an atmosphere rarely seen elsewhere, with older black voters still revelling in an experience that was denied them so long under apartheid.

Final results are expected to be officially certified on Saturday.

A big issue has been the implementation of a 2017 ANC pledge to redistribute prime agricultural land, now disproportionately owned by white people, who constitute less than 10% of the population.

But EFF leader Julius Malema has said that it will not make a deal with the DA and is more likely to look to a coalition with the ANC.

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