South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC) has been returned to office after winning parliamentary election, but with a reduced majority.
The ANC secured 58 per cent of the vote, ahead of the Democratic Alliance (DA) on 21 per cent. The radical Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), came third with 11per cent.
A struggling economy and corruption have eroded the ANC’s popularity.
ANC leader, President Cyril Ramaphosa, called on the people to build a united South Africa.
In his victory speech, he said the result showed that South Africans still had faith in the ANC – in power since 1994 – to deliver.
“Let us now work together, black and white, men and women, young and old, to build a South Africa that truly belongs to all who live in it as proclaimed by our forebears,” Mr Ramaphosa told supporters in Pretoria.
He called for a South Africa “which is united, which is non-racial, which is non-sexist, democratic and prosperous”.
The BBC’s Will Ross says the ANC may not be too disheartened by the reduced majority.
He says that although its support has dropped, this was not a disastrous performance and some might even be tempted to call it a fairly successful exercise in damage limitation considering the ANC’s corruption scandals and the slow progress in tackling poverty.
Turnout was about 65 per cent in the twin parliamentary and provincial elections – a drop compared to the 73 per cent registered five years ago.
It was the first time the ANC’s share of the vote has fallen below the 60 per cent mark and it will now have 19 fewer seats in the 400-member parliament.
This has been a critical election for the man promising to defeat corruption and boost a stagnant economy.
Cyril Ramaphosa will now argue that he has a mandate to create a cabinet capable of reducing unemployment that runs at 27 per cent – more than half of it among the young. That means sidelining allies of his scandal-plagued predecessor Jacob Zuma.
They will however remain entrenched in the structures of the ANC, unless prosecutions or the reports of public inquiries into corruption force them to quit. Perceptions of honest government are critical if Mr Ramaphosa is to attract the investment South Africa needs.
This is Africa’s largest economy and tackling its inability to provide jobs for the young is the great challenge ahead. –BBC