As South African go to the polls on May 8, incumbent President Cyril Ramaphosa and his party, the African National Congress (ANC), face an uncertain future.
Since the end of apartheid in 1994, the ANC has enjoyed a two-thirds majority in Parliament, but this dominance may come to an end, according to poll forecasts.
While the poll forecasts vary wildly, there is a general consensus among political observers that South Africans are tired of seeing little progress since the dawn of democracy.
Political analyst, Stephen Friedman, opines that Ramaphosa’s credentials could be enhanced if the ANC performs better than the 55,9 per cent it garnered in the 2016 municipal elections. Said Friedman:
If the party has done better than in 2016, then he is going to be in good shape, he will presumably have more authority.
The calculation people will make within the ANC, is that it will mean Ramaphosa has added to the ANC vote, with him as president of the ANC, the ANC has improved its position and that should strengthen his position in terms of being re-elected.
It would be more difficult to read if the ANC did not do that. There may be people who say this man is not a vote winner, and then he could argue again that without him the ANC would be the opposition party, so it really depends how that process pans out.
It could take a couple of years. Talk that he could be forced out next year is fantasy.
The ANC’s Waterloo may come at the hands of the far-right party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) fronted by Julius Malema, and the white-dominated liberal Democratic Alliance led by Mmusi Maimane. The two parties have been gradually increasing their numbers over the past few years.