Ruling South African Party Wins its Fifth Successive Election

World Today

The African National Congress has officially won the South African general election. Support for the party that’s ruled since the end of apartheid dropped just over 3 per cent on the last vote in 2009. Observers say the polls were free, fair and transparent – but opposition parties lodged several complaints. And a township outside Johannesburg erupted in politically-motivated violence.

Ruling South African Party Wins its Fifth Successive Election

Ruling South African Party Wins its Fifth Successive Election

The African National Congress has officially won the South African general election. Support for the party that's ruled since the end of apartheid dropped just over 3 per cent on the last vote in 2009. Observers say the polls were free, fair and transparent - but opposition parties lodged several complaints. And a township outside Johannesburg erupted in politically-motivated violence.
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By dawn, only the debris remained. The army cleared the area on Friday night – but it’s up to the police to keep the peace now. Re-enforcements have been bought in from all across the province. Rumors of vote-rigging at a polling station was enough to set things off. The results are final now – but some opposition parties aren’t happy with the counting process in Gauteng province specifically. It’s been a key battleground.

The Economic Freedom Fighters won big here for a party that’s only 8 months old. But not big enough, says its leader – though he’s urging calm. Broadly, though, electoral officials say the vote has once again set an example.

As the electoral nerve center winds down, evidence on the boards above of a changed electoral landscape. As well as the newcomers, a more powerful official opposition – 6% more votes for the Democratic Alliance nationally. The ruling party have kept their convincing majority – but the violence here is indicative of one of the big challenges this new government faces. Communities in places like this feel an increasing disconnect between themselves and the local officials who are supposed to serve them. There may be high-level policies to improve their lot. But there’s still questions around the ability, at ground level, to respond to people’s needs.