ANC likely to retain power in South Africa but corruption scandals hurt popularity

ANC likely to retain power in South Africa but corruption scandals hurt popularity

South Africans go to the polls today to elect lawmakers that will ultimately elect the country’s president. The leader of

south africa election 2019

Photo: Alet Pretorius/Gallo Images/Getty

South Africans go to the polls today to elect lawmakers that will ultimately elect the country’s president. The leader of the party that wins a majority will become president.

The ANC, which has ruled for 25 years since the end of apartheid, has been consumed by corruption scandals in recent years, culminating in the forced resignation of former President Jacob Zuma in February 2018. More recently, corruption allegations have focused specifically on Bosasa, a company accused of using bribes to win government contracts.

The scandals have caused the ANC’s popularity to plummet, suffering its worst result since 1994 in 2016 municipal elections, where it won just 54% of the vote.

As Zuma’s successor, Cyril Ramaphosa has pledged to clamp down on corruption and reignite the country’s slowing economic growth. His party is facing down challenges from two opposition parties: the Democratic Alliance and the Economic Freedom Fighters.

While the ANC is expected to win a majority in the National Assembly, it is the size of that victory that matters most. A solid share of the popular vote would give Mr Ramaphosa the political capital to push through his policies, namely strengthening corruption inquiries and reforming the struggling state energy provider. On the other hand, a narrow victory would embolden the opposition, likely placing Mr Ramaphosa’s policy goals on hold.

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