Vidostream | News, sport and opinion from the Vidostream's US edition

https://vidostream.com


South Africa elections: voting under way amid grim national mood

Ruling African National Congress party could lose majority for first time since apartheid ended 30 years ago

A woman walks past piles of uncollected trash in the township of Alexandra a day before the national election in Johannesburg. Photograph: Ihsaan Haffejee/Reuters

A woman walks past piles of uncollected trash in the township of Alexandra a day before the national election in Johannesburg. Photograph: Ihsaan Haffejee/Reuters

Explainer: what are the issues and will the ANC lose its majority?

South Africans are voting in what are expected to be the most competitive elections since the end of apartheid, which could result in the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party losing its majority for the first time since Nelson Mandela led it to power 30 years ago.

The national mood is grim owing to some of the world’s highest rates of unemployment and inequality, power cuts, water shortages and violent crime. Younger generations do not feel the same gratitude and loyalty to the ANC as many of their parents and grandparents do, for leading the successful fight for multi-racial democracy.

Polls have consistently shown the ANC getting less than 50% of the national vote, down from 57.5% in the last elections in 2019. This raises the prospect of South Africa’s first coalition government since the “government of national unity” during Mandela’s single presidential term, when the country was seen as a beacon of hope for Africa and the world.“I certainly think the ANC is not going to make 50% … The best case seems to be 46-47%,” said David Everatt, a professor at the University of Witwatersrand who conducted polls for the party from 1993 until South Africa’s most recent regional elections in 2021.

“The mood is very, very low and many people attribute their unhappiness directly to the ANC.”

Millions more South Africans now have access to quality housing with electricity and running water than in 1994 when the ANC came to power. But rising unemployment, along with corruption scandals and rolling power cuts that have lasted up to 10 hours a day in recent years, have contributed to a sense for many that the government no longer works for them. Even Mandela’s home village of Qunu in the rural Eastern Cape no longer has piped water.

More than 80% of South Africans said the country was going in the wrong direction in a 2022 poll by pan-African survey organisation Afrobarometer. Four in 10 adults are out of work.

Joy Reabetswe, who sells funeral insurance, accused ANC politicians of hoarding state resources for themselves

Reabetswe, 18, who is saving money to pay for a law degree, said voting had not crossed her mind. President Cyril Ramaphosa “could do better,” she said, speaking outside a supermarket on the outskirts of Diepsloot, a poor township bordering verdant golf courses on Johannesburg’s northern fringes.

The Democratic Alliance (DA), the largest opposition party and more pro-business than the ANC, can help South Africans, she said, but was not appealing either due to the oft-levelled accusation that it favours the interests of white people (which it denies).