by Nelson Nkosi

South Africa: an electoral earthquake?

Afrique du Sud : un tremblement de terre électoral ?
A new poll unveiled by OpinionWay foreshadows a major upheaval in the South African political landscape. For the first time, the ANC could lose its absolute majority, opening the way to intriguing coalition scenarios, at the heart of which is an unexpected player: Jacob Zuma and his young party, the MK.

A political earthquake is brewing in South Africa

The land of the spear and scepter finds itself on the cusp of a political revolution. The results of the survey from OpinionWay on voting intentions for the South African general elections, scheduled for May 29, suggest an unprecedented paradigm shift. Since the end of Apartheid in 1994, the African National Congress (ANC) has been the hegemonic party, outrageously dominating the national political landscape. But today this domination seems seriously shaken.

The ANC has never achieved a score lower than 50% in multiracial elections over the past three decades. However, according to this latest poll, the ruling party, led by President Cyril Ramaphosa, possesses only 39% of voting intentions among the 2003 people surveyed who plan to participate in the vote. This figure marks a drop of 18% compared to the 2019 elections.

The end of the ANC's absolute majority

This drastic decline means that the ANC could lose its absolute majority in parliament, an unprecedented scenario in the country's modern history. Without this majority, the ANC would be forced to seek alliances, a completely new situation for this party which has always reigned unchallenged. But who could the ANC ally with? Traditional rivals such as the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) do not show any notable progress, remaining at 21% and 13% of voting intentions respectively.

Jacob Zuma and MK: The new masters of the game

The real surprise comes from the MK, a party founded just six months ago by former President Jacob Zuma. The MK, with its 15% voting intentions, seems to have captured most of the votes lost by the ANC. This center-left party with populist tendencies is now positioning itself as a central player on the political scene.

Jacob Zuma, a controversial but charismatic figure, seems to have succeeded in repositioning himself as a key player in the South African political landscape. With the MK, he created a formation capable of allying both with the radical left of the EFF and with the center-right of the DA, without forgetting a possible reconciliation with the ANC, his former party.

A new era of coalitions in sight

This poll indicates that South Africa is heading towards an era of political coalitions, a first in its recent history. The MK, thanks to its ideological flexibility, could well become the pivot around which these alliances will be formed. With his roots in the history of the struggle against Apartheid and strong popularity among young people and the Zulu majority, Jacob Zuma could well once again play a decisive role in the political future of the nation.

At 81 years old, Zuma seems more ready than ever to influence the destiny of South Africa, marking a historic turning point in the upcoming elections.