South African election results bring painful memories to MDC
By Dr Masimba Mavaza
General elections were held in South Africa on 8 May 2019 to elect a new National Assembly and provincial legislatures in each province. These were the sixth elections held since the end of apartheid in 1994 and have ordained President of South Africa in Cyril Ramaphosa.
He led the ruling African National Congress, with the party retaining its majority status albeit reduced but secured Ramaphosa a full term in office as president; his predecessor, Jacob Zuma, resigned from office on 14 February 2018 and was already ineligible for a third term in office as the South African Constitution limits a president to serve a maximum of two five-year term.
These are the final results at a glance.
ANC: 256 (down 23)
DA: 88 (down 3)
EFF: 50 (up 20)
IFP: 14 (up 4)
VF+: 10 (up 7)
ACDP: 3 (up 2)
ATM: 2 (new)
UDM: 2 (down 2)
GOOD: 1 (new)
NFP: 1 (down 5)
MF: 1 (no change)
BRA: 1 (no change)
ALJAMA: 1 (up 1)
The ANC, which has been in power since 1994, won 62% of the vote at the last general election in 2014.There is clearly a dip in the popularity of the ANC. It has lost 23 seats to its opposition with Malema gaining 20 seats. This does not show that the previous leaders were better than the present.
ANC lost some votes because there is a general anger over the economy and corruption which have eroded its popularity. This general anger is similar to the anger Zimbabweans are having. Not even a single corruption case has been successfully prosecuted. Success meaning conviction of-course. ZANU PF will fall in the same trap ANC is sliding into.
The radical Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), is in third place with 50 seats the official results indicate.
It has gained 18 seats more than last time. This shows that EEF has great popularity in the social media and not on the grounds. This resonates strongly with MDC The youthful but radical Malema forgot to preach the gospel of registering to vote.
Over 6 million youth in South Africa did not vote. Statics has shown that the majority of the youth are not registered as voters in South Africa. This means EEF has lost over six million votes to non registration of the youth who make a large chunk of their support. Clear similarities are drawn with Zimbabwean situation. The opposition MDC has a lot of noise violent supporters but they are not registered voters.
Opposition is to learn very fast that the country can not be governed on Whatsapp or on Facebook.
The South African situation is a carbon copy of Zimbabwe. The majority of the youth have decided to support the opposition. Mostly because they want to protest against unemployment and economic hardships. This is the same case in Zimbabwe. The striking similarity is that the opposition youth do not register to vote. This has costed opposition in both Zimbabwe and south Africa. Malema’s rallies were well attended but voting came up with blanks.
In South Africa the ANC managed to snatch victory from Malema and his EEF by embracing the land reform. This was Malema’s trump card.
By embracing it the ANC managed to snatch and pull the rug from the feet of the EEF. Noise is not a sign of winning. Even the voting attendance spoke volumes on the thinking of the South Africans. Voter Turnout was about 65% in both parliamentary and provincial elections a big difference compared to the 73% registered five years ago. This does not add a chip on Zuma’s shoulders.
Like Mugabe Zuma was basking in the glory of the old ANC system and benefiting from the revolution. By the time Ramaphosa took over those who were children were now adults and their knowledge of the revolution is dead, and the fight against corruption is a challenge and seriously doing the revolutionary parties down.
This can be paralleled to Zimbabwe’s situation. Zuma had left his henchmen in very influential positions. That being the case no civil servant is assisting in fighting against corruption. This is the sad reality in Zimbabwe.
The previous government left very partisan civil servants in high places. Any government policy is sabotaged. And the failures of the civil servants are spread to the party and government. Hardships experienced in Zimbabwe are just superficial and this is the exact situation in South Africa.
ED came into power riding on the fallout of The people and Mugabe. His sweeping changes are being chocked by those who pay allegiance to the previous government.
In South Africa this has been a critical election for the man promising to defeat corruption and boost a stagnant economy. So was the 2018 elections in Zimbabwe but those in the life line of both revolutionary parties have managed to sway the vote.
ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa will now argue that he has a mandate to create a cabinet capable of reducing unemployment that runs at 27% – more than half of it among the young. In his campaign he tried to blame the foreigners for taking jobs from locals.
This was a desperate xenophobic campaign strategy. He was quick to retract amid a serious backlash from the world over. Now that he has been given a fresh mandate he now has the opportunity to sideline allies of his scandal-plagued predecessor Jacob Zuma.
This will be done without congesting the cabinet with thank you friends but genuine patriots. ED had the same chance and he used it to the full advantage of the country. Zimbabwe is now not operating on deficit. Foreign currency though scarce is now allocated on merit not on favour.
While in South Africa Zuma’s faithfuls remain entrenched in the structures of the ANC, unless prosecutions or the reports of public inquiries into corruption force them to quit in Zimbabwe prosecutions have been instituted while convictions are decided by the former regimes sympathisers.
Perceptions of honest government are critical if both Mr Ramaphosa of South Africa and ED of Zimbabwe are to attract the investment South Africa and Zimbabwe needs.
South Africa is Africa’s largest economy and tackling its inability to provide jobs for the young is the great challenge as most African states have offloaded their unemployed and fortune seekers to South Africa.
Disenchantment over corruption and the failure to prosecute is deep in both Zimbabwe and South Africa.
In South Africa they do not vote for the president. Votes are cast for parties, with seats in the 400-member National Assembly allocated according to the share of the vote gained by each party.
These MPs then elect a president. While in Zimbabwe there are presidential elections.
ZANU PF in Zimbabwe retained people’s trust because of its revolutionary history and its stand on land. ANC changed mid air to embrace a shift in the land reform.
Apartheid, legalised racial discrimination in favour of white people, and land ownership has remained a contentious issue. Malema saw the need of the masses and took a stand with the people. ANC took a leaf from Malema and took a radical move towards land. With that Malema lost any justification to replace ANC.
The white minority still owns disproportionately more land than the black majority. The EFF has led the charge in trying to change this.
Malema’s stance has forced the ANC to consider drastic measures to transfer more land, more quickly, into black hands, which has resulted in a pledge to conduct land expropriation without compensation. This gave ANC back the support which was dwindling.
Other election issues include discontent over poor basic services such as water, housing and electricity, and anger over violent crime.
As well as the continued inequalities, it is true that the failure to tackle corruption has damaged the ANC as much as it has damaged Zimbabwe. Just as ED President Ramaphosa came to power last year pledging to get to grips with the issue, but some voters still associate the party with the corruption which thrived under his predecessor, Jacob Zuma.
EQUALLY with Zimbabwe the ills of the past AUTHORITY are visited on ED.
ZANU PF must quickly learn that corruption must not be tolerated it will haunt you come elections. Furthermore voter education must be a priority.
Above all the revolutionary candle must not be allowed to blow off.
Source – Dr Masimba Mavaza