South Africa 2024 Election: New Reforms, New Leaders?

Arafat Oseni

South Africa is the southernmost country in Africa and the second most populous country located south of the equator, after Tanzania. With over 62 million people, the country is the world’s 23rd-most populous nation according to the country’ 2022 Statistical release.  In terms of natural resources, the region has the world’s largest resources of platinum and the platinum group elements, chromium, vanadium and cobalt, as well as uranium, gold, copper, titanium, iron, manganese, silver, beryllium and diamonds. 

South Africa has a parliamentary system of government and on May 29, the country will elect a new National assembly as well as the provincial legislature in each of the country’s nine provinces before the National Assembly elects the president. 

South Africa has also introduced a new electoral system which means that voters will be given three ballot papers at the polling unit instead of two. This includes two national ballots (the regional and compensatory ballots) and one provincial ballot paper. This new electoral system is the first time that independent candidates can contest at both the national and provincial levels. The date of the elections are set and announced on 20 February 2024 by the incumbent President, Cyril Ramaphosa, and must be within 90 days of the end of the term of the current parliament. This will be the seventh general election held under the conditions of universal adult suffrage since the end of the apartheid era in 1994.

The major party contesting in the elections is the African national Congress (ANC) led by the incumbent president, Cyril Ramaphosa. This party has dominated the political scene since 1994 after the apartheid regime in South Africa.The Party is currently under pressure as major party members have defected to other parties due to the rate of assassinations of political rivals. Another major contender in the coming election is the former President Jacob Zuma who was a forerunner party member in ANC. He backed away after being suspended in January from the party due to his ongoing court cases and allegations of corruption. Zuma has formed uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) or Spear of the Nation party. This is a move that could potentially attract some traditional ANC voters. Another opposition  party is the Democratic Alliance (DA) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

South Africa Elections: Meet the parties - The Africa

It is also interesting to note that the country has been suffering from power crises based on the 47 weeks compiled Blackout statistics (which ended in November 2023) by Pieter Jordan an Independent energy analyst. This power crisis had led to Daily blackouts, known locally as “load shedding” and has affected local business and the economy of the country for years, with no sign of ending despite the president’s recent remarks that “the worst is behind us”. There is also a stubbornly high rate of unemployment, which hit 32% last year, and High levels of violent crimes on average 130 rapes and 80 murders a day in the last three months of 2023.

The 2024 election will be a test of the country’s ability to use democratic processes to forge new domestic alliances to address these challenges and set the country on a path of reform.

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