South Africa’s 2024 National Election: What to Know

  • Why does this election matter?

  • How does South Africa vote?

  • Who is running, and who is likely to win?

  • When will we find out the results?

  • Where can I find more information?

Why does this election matter?

This year is the 30th anniversary of South Africa’s first democratic elections, but millions of people continue to suffer from economic challenges similar to those during apartheid.

Most Black South Africans do not earn enough to meet their basic needs. Inequality and unemployment have increased, basic services like water and electricity are unreliable, racial disparities remain wide and political corruption has left many fed up with the country’s democracy.

All this has placed the African National Congress, the liberation party that has governed since the start of South Africa’s democracy, under more pressure than ever before as it enters an election on May 29. In the six previous national elections, the party comfortably won an absolute majority in Parliament, allowing it to govern as it wished. Now, though, the party faces a real threat of losing that majority for the first time.

This has forced the A.N.C. to get serious about pushing new solutions to the many problems that afflict the country. The party has also had to work hard to heal its internal divisions and address corruption among its ranks.

As one of the most developed economies and stable democracies in Africa, South Africa has enthusiastically embraced its role as a gateway to the continent for nations around the globe. But the grim economic conditions have brought fears of social unrest that could undermine the stability so important to the country’s reputation and influence on the continent.

How does South Africa vote?

Voters choose a party on their ballots, and the percentage of votes that a party gets determines how many seats it receives in the 400-member National Assembly. Members of the assembly, the more powerful of the two chambers in Parliament, then elect the president. This means that the party, or coalition of parties, with more than 50 percent of the seats chooses the nation’s leader.

Back to top button