The latest polls place the ANC, in power since 1994, with a victory of somewhere between 55 to 60 percent of the ballots.
South Africans are ready to vote on May 8 in its sixth general election since the end of the white apartheid rule in 1994. Facing a different political landscape, as almost 50 parties will compete for the favor of 26.7 million eligible voters, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) is predicted to win the majority of votes.
The latest polls place the ANC, in power since 1994, with a victory of somewhere between 55 to 60 percent of the ballots. While the runner ups, the Democratic Alliance, a center-right party, could obtain as much as 22 percent. On Monday, the elderly, infirm and all those who won’t be able to vote on the official day, cast their choice.
With many undecided voters according to polls, it remains to be seen if traditional voting patterns will change. One is the populist far-left Economic Freedom Fighters, an offshoot of the ANC, expected to win about 10 percent of the electorate and cementing their presence in South African politics as a force to be reckoned with since its establishment in 2013.
On Wednesday, registered voters will choose 400 legislators for the National Assembly and provincial legislatures in each province. With an ANC win, current President Cyril Ramaphosa will make a bid for a second term, after urging voters to forgive the party’s mistakes and give them another chance.
“This is the moment when we must choose to go back to the past of conflict and anger or we can choose to embark on a path of renewal,” Ramaphosa said during his final campaign rally in the capital city of Pretoria.
Yet many South Africans are skeptical of the ANC’s promises as, after 25 years in power, the country still faces considerable structural issues. According to the Living Conditions Survey made by the state agency Statistics South Africa, 49,2 percent of the adult population were living below the upper-bound poverty line; poor children were twice as likely to have no access to safe areas as crime is still a large concern, and access to adequate housing, electricity, water, and sanitation services is still lacking.
A narrative which the Democratic Alliance, who won in 2014 only in the Western Cape province, is using in order to convince voters. However, political analysts believe the big parties may lose support to the smaller parties formed, as South Africa’s traditional voting patterns might change.