Daily Archives: April 24, 2009

South Africa 2009: After 11 million votes

In the South African elections held yesterday, around 11 million votes have been counted out of roughly 23 million registered voters. These results are likely to look similar to the final results, which will probably be finalized by Saturday. Turnout is reported to be at a high, maybe all-time high. It’s too early to give the real turnout percentage, but I’ve seen the number 77% being floated around.

The current results, obtained from the Election Commish look like this, with change on 2004.

ANC 66.51% (-3.18%)
DA 16.36% (+3.99%)
COPE 7.66% (+7.66%)
IFP 3.78% (-3.19%)
UDM 1.02% (-1.26%)
Independent Democrats 0.98% (-0.72%)
Freedom Front+ 0.95% (+0.06%)
ACDP 0.77% (-0.83%)
UCDP 0.40% (-0.35%)
Pan-Africanist Congress 0.28% (-0.45%)
Azanian People’s Organization 0.22% (-0.03%)
Movement Democratic Party 0.18% (+0.18%)
Minority Front 0.13% (-0.22%)

I’m not sure how seats end up being allocated, but I think they do it nationally with no threshold. So, applying the above figures, you get this projected makeup:

ANC 272 (-7)
DA 66 (+16)
COPE 31 (+31)
IFP 15 (-13)
UDM 4 (-5)
Independent Democrats 4 (-3)
Freedom Front+ 3 (-1)
ACDP 3 (-4)
UCDP 1 (-2)
Pan-Africanist Congress 1 (-2)
Azanian People’s Organization 0 (-1)
Minority Front 0 (-2)

This is a good result for the ANC and their loses prove only minimal: though this is mostly due to the ANC’s large gains in KwaZulu-Natal, the Zulu heartland where Zuma’s Zulu ancestry played well. In all other provinces, the ANC is losing ground, either very little (Mpumalanga) to a whole lot (Western Cape). The ANC will probably keep its tw0-thirds majority, which gives them the chance to amend the Constitution without the need for external support.

With 16.4%, the Democratic Alliance has probably reached the maximum it can expect under its present quasi-exclusively white/coloured base. However, 16.4% remains a good result for the opposition, which faced some tough competition for that role from the Congress of the People. They have made gains almost nationwide, though they lost ground, statistical noise, in a few provinces where they’re rather weak anyways. However, in its Western Cape base, it has increased its share by around 19% and hovers slightly below the 50% mark in the national tally. In Gauteng Province (Joburg), it has polled around 25%.

This is a deceiving result for the COPE if they followed polls at all. However, it’s not really that surprising. COPE represents something the voters aren’t too fond of (aloof politicians, for starters) and they lack a strong solid base like the ANC has with blacks and the DA has with whites and coloured. A quick glance at their provincial results show that they seem stronger in the Cape area, or in the coloured areas. We’ll need a further breakdown of data to see if this theory proves true, since it’s hard to say as they don’t break 20% anywhere. However, it is undeniable that COPE hasn’t broken through in the black community. For one, it represents something that isn’t widely popular and it’s leadership is far from the populist Zuma whom crowds love. Second, Apartheid remains too close and black rights not firmly established yet to let blacks from considering a party other than Mandela’s party and the historic anti-apartheid party. Also, opposition parties haven’t really had the chance to prove themselves in power. The only opposition parties that held power at a provincial level since 1994 had much too narrow bases for them to become parties a lot of blacks could vote for in the end: the Afrikaner apartheid National Party (NP) in the Cape and the quasi-exclusively Zulu IFP in KZN. Now that the Democratic Alliance will lead government in Western Cape, probably in coalition with COPE and the Independent Democrats, the opposition that has a realistic chance to expand its electoral base will be able to prove themselves as an alternative to the ANC.

Minor parties had a very rough time last night. The UDM and the Independent Democrats, anti-corruption parties, suffered a lot from COPE adorning the mantle of good government (ironically enough). All other smaller parties, except for the VF+, be it the Christian right (ACDP, UCDP) or the various Pan-Africanists have all suffered loses. Only the VF+ seems to have gained, though even that proves very minimal. It doesn’t seem as if the VF+ ended up attracting a lot of the National Party voters.

Map of South African Provinces

Current national results by province:

W Cape: DA 49.3, ANC 31.7, COPE 9.0, ID 5.4, ACDP 1.6, VF+ 1.2
N Cape: ANC 60.9, COPE 16.3, DA 12.3, ID 5.3, VF+ 1.4
E Cape: ANC 69.5, COPE 13.2, DA 10.3, UDM 3.9
KwaZulu-Natal: ANC 65.4, IFP 22.1, DA 8.2, COPE 1.3
Free State: ANC 71.3, DA 13.1, COPE 10.7, VF+ 1.9
Northwest: ANC 74.4, COPE 8.4, DA 8.3, UCDP 3.7, VF+ 1.4
Gauteng: ANC 60.7, DA 25.7, COPE 7.4, VF+ 1.7, IFP 1.1
Mpumalanga: ANC 85.4, DA 8.0, COPE 2.8
Limpopo: ANC 85.2, COPE 6.9, DA 4.1

I have mentioned provincial elections in a few places, including above. As I said, the Democratic Alliance has won control of Western Cape province (which includes Cape Town, a city which it governs since 2006). While it seems to be slightly below 50% in the national vote, it seems as if the DA has won over 50% of the vote in the provincial election, probably giving the DA an absolute majority. It will probably govern at the head of a large coalition with COPE (7.8%) and the Independent Democrats (5.6%). This could even include the ACDP (1.4%), the UDM (0.7%), and VF+ (0.5%); all of which are part of the ruling coalition in Cape Town. In other provinces, the ANC has kept its absolute majority and gained an absolute majority in KwaZulu-Natal, where it seems to have polled around 62.8% (47% in 2004). The IFP has polled only 23.4% (36.8%),  the party’s lowest point since it won about 50% in 1994. In terms of opposition parties in the provincial legislature, COPE seems to be the official opposition in Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and Limpopo. In the North West, the margin between the DA and COPE (8.3%) is very small as of now, though the DA is second for the moment.