WE join President Mnangagwa and other world leaders in congratulating the African National Congress and President Cyril Ramaphosa following the party’s victory in the South African general elections which were held last week.
The margin of victory shows that the people of South Africa still have faith in the ANC and its leadership and trust it with charting the path for that country for the foreseeable future.
Despite the run up to the polls being blighted by allegations of State capture, corruption and disgruntlement over service delivery issues, the governing party showed its resilience and staying power by weathering the storm and emerging unscathed from an election which was a stern test for President Ramaphosa.
The poll was a litmus test for his leadership qualities following the recall of former President Jacob Zuma last year and his installation to complete his predecessor’s term.
By garnering 57,5 percent of the national votes in a poll which attracted a voter turnout of 65 percent, the ANC left its main rivals in the shade with the official opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, getting 20,77 percent of the vote, down two percent from the 2014 election.
The Economic Freedom Fighters took third place with almost 11 percent of the vote, polling about five percentage points higher than in its first election in 2014.
The EFF is now the official opposition in three out of South Africa’s nine provinces — a remarkable turnaround for a party made up largely of former ANC youth leaders.
On the other side of the political spectrum, there were notable advances for the right-wing Freedom Front Plus, which took 10 seats in the Parliament, up from four in the previous election.
Despite a number of interruptions and claims of electoral fraud and insufficient ballot papers at certain voting stations across the country, international and domestic election observers have endorsed the elections as free and fair.
The ANC victory assured a sixth straight term in power for the ANC but there are concerns with the result as it is the worst-ever electoral showing for the revolutionary party which has ruled South Africa since the end of apartheid 25 years ago.
Records show that support for the ANC has steadily declined since it took a record 69 percent of the vote in 2004 and this year’s electoral performance comes amid growing voter frustration over rampant corruption and high unemployment rates.
President Ramaphosa now faces the challenge of regaining public confidence in a party that remains beset with internal divisions which threatened to derail the electoral campaign.
The victory, which gives the ANC 230 seats in the 400-member parliament, down from 249 in 2014, gives President Ramaphosa the mandate to mould a Cabinet in his image and rid the party and Government of corrupt individuals who almost derailed his charge towards extending his party’s stranglehold on the country.
As the party of independence and governing the Southern African Development Community’s biggest economy, the ANC has a huge responsibility of not only preserving the revolutionary ethos and values in South Africa but the entire region.
Its hold on power in that country cannot be allowed to slip lest counter-revolutionaries and neo-colonial forces find their way back to power via the back door.
Going forward, the party needs to introspect and emerge stronger with a view to gaining back the trust of the masses by delivering on the electoral promises.
It also needs to deal decisively with corruption within its ranks as this was one of the stains of the previous Government led by Mr Zuma.
We have confidence in President Ramaphosa’s stewardship of that country and are certain that he will lead South Africa into a prosperous future.
South Africa is Zimbabwe’s biggest trading partner and relations between the two countries are not only cordial but strong.
With the re-election of the ANC, relations between the two countries will continue to flourish since the two governing parties have a long history dating back to the liberation struggle.
In his congratulatory message to President Ramaphosa following the announcement of results on Saturday, President Mnangagwa said he was looking forward to working closely with his South African counterpart in strengthening of relations between the two neighbouring countries whose strong ties date back to the period of the liberation struggle. “Congratulations [email protected] CyrilRamaphosa on your election victory. We wish you success as you build a strong and prosperous South Africa, and look forward to working closely together as we further strengthen the relationship between our two nations,” said President Mnangagwa via Twitter.
We also congratulate President Ramaphosa and the people of South Africa and wish them well as they embark on another chapter in the country’s history. We call on all parties, including smaller ones that are disputing the electoral outcome, to accept the results and allow the country to move forward.
The people have spoken.