The political landscape in South Africa is undergoing a transformation, with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Patriotic Alliance (PA) celebrating significant wins in recent by-elections on October 12, 2023. These victories mark a noticeable shift as these parties took control from the African National Congress (ANC), which has been dealing with internal issues and allegations of corruption. The Electoral Commission of South Africa has officially announced the results of Wednesday’s by-elections in Mpumalanga, the North West, and the Northern Cape.
In Mpumalanga, the EFF emerged as the victors in the Langverwag ward, located within the Tshwane municipality. Their win was significant, with 48% of the vote compared to the ANC’s 36%. The PA secured the third position with 7% of the vote.
Moving to the Northern Cape, the PA achieved success in the Schmidtsdrift ward within the Siyancuma municipality, securing 48% of the vote, while the ANC garnered 36%. The EFF followed with 16% of the vote.
It’s important to note that these by-elections became necessary due to the unfortunate passing of the incumbent councilors. ANC’s Diminishing Popularity: The ANC’s losses in these by-elections reveal the party’s declining influence. For a long time, the ANC held a dominant position in South African politics. However, recent years have seen the party facing corruption scandals and internal disputes, resulting in a noticeable drop in its popularity.
EFF and PA’s Rise:
In contrast, the victories of the EFF and PA highlight the growing appeal of these political groups. The EFF is an energetic and popular party, particularly among younger and working-class voters. On the other hand, the PA caters to a conservative audience, drawing support from Afrikaner and white voters.
Implications of the By-Election Results:
1. Erosion of ANC’s Dominance: The ANC’s once unchallenged position in South African politics is now uncertain. It faces increasing competition from parties like the EFF and PA, as well as smaller political entities.
2. Growing Discontent with the ANC: The by-election results reflect a rising dissatisfaction with the ANC among voters. The party is now widely seen as being involved in corruption, marked by incompetence, and out of touch with the public’s concerns.
3. The Rise of Alternative Voices: As the EFF and PA continue to gain popularity, they provide voters with alternatives beyond the ANC. These parties are adapting to the changing political landscape and addressing issues important to different segments of the population.
The Path Forward for the ANC:
For the ANC to regain its support and maintain a strong presence in South African politics, several critical steps must be taken:
1. Rebuilding Trust: The ANC must make a dedicated effort to rebuild its damaged reputation and address perceptions of corruption. Restoring public trust is paramount.
2. Enhanced Responsiveness: The party needs to show greater responsiveness to the people’s needs. Prioritizing issues such as unemployment, poverty, and inequality is crucial.
3.Leadership Renewal: Selecting leaders who are committed to serving the nation and have a vision for South Africa’s future is essential. Leadership renewal is crucial to set the ANC on the right path.
The recent successes of the EFF and PA in the Mpumalanga and Northern Cape by-elections signal a shifting political landscape in South Africa. The ANC’s once unquestioned dominance is being challenged, and a more discerning and dissatisfied electorate is emerging.
As the EFF and PA gain ground, they offer an alternative to the ANC and its leadership. Their increasing popularity presents a significant challenge to the ANC. For the ANC to regain its former status, it must embark on a journey of rebuilding trust, becoming more responsive, and renewing its leadership. Only then can it hope to secure its place as a significant force in South African politics.