Thursday , April 25 2024

South Africa to hold general elections on May 29


JOHANNESBURG: South Africa will hold national and provincial elections on May 29, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office said on Tuesday.

The elections are expected to be the most competitive since the end of the apartheid system.

Political analysts widely predict that the governing African National Congress (ANC) party will lose its parliamentary majority for the first time since 1994, with record power cuts, poor service delivery and high levels of unemployment among voter complaints.

South Africans 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.

Ramaphosa, 71, is seeking a second term as president. He has struggled to lift economic growth significantly since taking over from Jacob Zuma as president in 2018.

“The 2024 elections coincide with South Africa’s celebration of 30 years of freedom and democracy,” Ramaphosa’s office said in a statement.

“Therefore, President Ramaphosa calls on all eligible voters to fully participate in this important and historic milestone of our democratic calendar.”

The statement echoed sentiments he shared in his State of the Nation Address earlier this month, where he used much of his speech to highlight how far the country has come in three decades and what role his governing party has played.

Ramaphosa, 71, is seeking a second term as president in a vote that may prove historic, with opinion polls showing opposition parties gaining ground over his African National Congress (ANC) in some areas.

The ANC has led the country since 1994 but the party is now struggling in the polls, and many analysts say this year it will for the first time get less than the 50 percent parliamentary majority it has won in past elections.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) are the main opposition parties.

Former President Jacob Zuma has backed the newly formed uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) or Spear of the Nation party, in a move that could potentially attract some traditional ANC voters.

Zuma who still enjoys huge popularity despite ongoing court cases and allegations of corruption against him was part of the ANC until he was suspended in January.

Political analysts also say record power cuts, poor service delivery and high levels of unemployment are likely to hurt the ANC at the polls in May. (Int’l News Desk)

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