With the election results for 2019 all but wrapped up, we’re now at a point where we can stick our necks out and asses which parties had a great campaign while identifying those who will need to carry out a post-mortem over the course of the next few days.
95% of election results accounted for
It’s been a paradoxical few days for South Africa: Things seem to have moved at a frantic pace since the polls opened on Wednesday, but several issues with voter security and the capture of final results have also dragged the conclusion of this election out further than it needed to go.
We’ve now got a situation where a coalition of smaller parties are protesting against the IEC and disputing the results. The fallout from “ink-gate” could last weeks, perhaps even months. But with almost 95% of votes accounted for, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide on the “winners and losers” of 2019.
2019 Election results: Which parties did well?
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)
- National vote share after 95% of ballots counted: 10.49%, third-most popular party.
Preliminary results show that the EFF has actually recorded growth in every province they contested in. That’s not something any other established political party can claim. Their national share of the vote has gone up from 6% to over 10%, and although they may have been aiming for 12 -13%, it’s been a productive election for the red berets.
They have also become the opposition government in Mpumalanga, replacing the DA in the process. That’ll be the third province they’ve finished second in this year, marking some significant strides forward. In fact, with current projections, they could increase their Parliamentary presence from 25 seats to 40+, which is a major gain.
They may not be the official government-in-waiting just yet, but they can certainly file this campaign under “progress”.
Freedom Front Plus (FF+ / VF+)
- National vote share after 95% of ballots counted: 2.31%, fifth-most popular party.
They were the talk of the town on Thursday, as they raced into fourth position on the voting leaderboard. They’ve since dropped a place, but the FF+ have gained more than double the votes they received in 2014.
Strong performances in Gauteng and North West are likely to see their share of Parliamentary seats rise from four to eight, or possibly nine.
In total, they’ve picked up 2.31% of the vote share, with more than 350 000 citizens giving their backing to the right-wingers. That total is likely to expand slightly, as we await the last 5% of votes to come through from the IEC.
Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP)
- National vote share after 95% of ballots counted: 3.49%, fourth-most popular party.
It’s been a tale of two halves for the IFP, and things got off to a sluggish start from them on Thursday. But after becoming “the best of the rest” and claiming fourth place on Friday, the picture looked much rosier for the party.
They are on course to oust the DA as the official opposition in KwaZulu-Natal and reclaim their provincial spot of “second to the ANC”. A huge portion of their half-a-million votes came from KZN, and with 3.5% of the vote in their favour, they could have as many as 15 MPs serving in Parliament for the next five years.
Honourable mentions: Patricia de Lille’s Good Party and Jimmy Manyi’s African Transformation Movement are both on course to secure themselves “multiple” seats in Parliament, after just a few months in their new political ventures. They should show Hlaudi how it’s done…
2019 Election results: Which parties performed badly?
African Content Movement (ACM), specifically Hlaudi Motsoeneng
- National vote share after 95% of ballots counted: 0.03%, 37th-most popular party
This is probably going to be the biggest reality check of Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s utterly bizarre life. His African Content Party – started by him and seemingly for him – sits with just 0.03% of the vote. He’s not even cracked the 5 000-mark.
The ex-SABC supremo is the first to big himself up, but this situation can’t be explained with hubris. Motsoeneng has a public profile just as big as that of de Lille or Manyi, and yet, the voters have resoundingly rejected him.
Congress of the People (Cope)
- National vote share after 95% of ballots counted: 0.28%, twelfth-most popular party.
What exactly has happened to Cope? Ten years ago, they romped home in third place on the national ballot and lapped up 1.3 million votes. In 2019, they’ve barely made a ripple and look increasingly likely to lose two, or perhaps all three of their seats in Parliament.
Their fall from grace – facilitated by the rise of the EFF and an inability to stay relevant in an evolving political climate – has been all but sealed on Friday. Cope are only the 12th-most popular party as things stand, with a miserly 40 778 votes and just 0.28% of the electorate’s support.
United Democratic Movement (UDM)
- National vote share after 95% of ballots counted: 0.47%, seventh-most popular party.
Bantu Holomisa’s chargers look like they’re only going to get about half the votes they won in the 2014 Election. The party had a respectable campaign five years ago, finishing third in the Eastern Cape. However, they are now way off the pace of the EFF, who took their “bronze” this week and recorded three times as many votes as the UDM got.
The UDM’s four seats in the National Assembly are guaranteed to be reduced by the time our full voting count-up is completed. Both Freedom Front Plus and the African Christian Democratic Party have overtaken them nationally, leaving Holomisa with a very uncertain ahead of him.
2019 Election results: Assessing the government and the opposition
African National Congress (ANC)
- National vote share after 95% of ballots counted: 57.74%, the most popular party
You could perhaps say that things have been good for the ANC, without being great. They have shed hundreds of thousands of votes in comparison to 2014, which is the surest sign that many faithful supporters are now turning their backs on the governing party.
Despite this, they’ve sealed seven out of nine provinces, with the Western Cape staying in DA hands and Gauteng going down to the wire. Even if they are forced into a coalition in GP, they are polling 22% higher than the DA at the moment, putting them in a stronger position for negotiations.
All in all, this will be their lowest share of the vote since democracy was born here. Almost 11% of their support base in KwaZulu-Natal has vanished within the last five years. Yes, they’ve made their large voter numbers count, but polling under 60% nationally is the alarm that should wake a few officials from their slumber.
Democratic Alliance (DA)
- National vote share after 95% of ballots counted: 20.70%, second-most popular party.
It’s under-par, whichever way you look at it. Retaining the Western Cape would have been their minimum expectation. Apart from that, things haven’t gone to plan for the official opposition, who still aren’t guaranteed to poll above 20% nationally as the last few results roll in.
They’ve been ousted as the official opposition in both Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, losing out to the EFF and IFP respectively. They’re certain to fall short of the four-million vote mark they surpassed in 2014, having only just broken three million with 95% of votes counted by Friday evening.
If tangible results are what parties and leaders must be judged on, then the DA must accept they’ve fallen short here.