South Africa Elections 2024

Voters wait in line outside the Johannesburg City Hall polling station in Johannesburg’s Central Business District, on May 29, 2024, during South Africa’s general election. Image: Michele Spatari / AFP

IEC confirms ‘93% of voting stations opened on time’

South Africa’s ruling ANC was fighting on Wednesday to defy expectations that it could lose its three-decade-long exclusive grip on power.

South Africa Elections 2024

Voters wait in line outside the Johannesburg City Hall polling station in Johannesburg’s Central Business District, on May 29, 2024, during South Africa’s general election. Image: Michele Spatari / AFP

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) was fighting on Wednesday to defy expectations that it could lose its three-decade-long exclusive grip on power, as voters turned out for a watershed general election.

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More than 27 million voters are registered for the most uncertain poll since the ANC led the nation out of apartheid rule.

Share power

With opposition challenges from both the left and right, unemployment and crime at near record levels and a new generation growing up with no memory of the struggle against white-minority rule, the ruling party may be forced to share power.

After voting, President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is seeking re-election, said: “I have no doubt whatsoever in my heart of hearts that the people will once again invest confidence in ANC to continue leading this country.

“The people of SA will give the ANC a firm majority.”

But John Steenhuisen, leader of the biggest opposition party the Democratic Alliance (DA), predicted no single party would win an outright majority, creating an opening for his alliance of smaller parties.

After voting in his home city, Durban, Steenhuisen said “for the first time in 30 years there’s an opportunity for change in South Africa”.

By 13:00, six hours after polls opened, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said that 93 percent of voting stations had opened on time, with others following later.

“There were a number of voting stations that delayed opening because of late delivery of materials, delayed escorts by security services or protests by certain community members,” it said.

ANC could be forced to negotiate a coalition

Voters will choose the 400 members of the National Assembly who in the coming weeks will then choose a president from among their number.

For the first time since the advent of democracy in 1994, the ANC could be forced to negotiate a coalition to remain in government.

If the ANC wins fewer than 201 seats, Ramaphosa would have to negotiate with opposition parties and independent MPs to secure a majority. It could face stark choices.

Full results are not expected before the weekend.