Gigaba said that the ANC being voted into power again is “also an exciting moment because it says that we can now continue implementing the programmes that we have promised that we are going to implement”.
Gigaba highlighted four points that motivated South Africans to vote for the party. The first of these, he said, was that South Africans “are convinced about the plans of the ANC. In actual fact, the ANC was the only [party] that was talking about its plans and not criticising other people”. The second point was the ANC’s track record, and Gigaba said that, “The last 20 years speak for themselves.” The third reason why people voted for the ANC was the party’s experience. Lastly, Gigaba said that the ANC has a collective leadership that allows South Africans to trust the party and not a specific leader. “The attempt to try to personalise the elections around individuals has backfired,” he said, adding that people who do not like certain leaders of the ANC will still vote for the party because they will identify with and trust other leaders.
ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said that the victory shows that support for the ANC remains strong and is an indication that the ANC is succeeding in fulfilling its responsibility as the ruling party. “The results of our work are qualitatively and quantitatively felt and appreciated by our people,” he said.
President Jacob Zuma said that the results indicate how “deeply rooted the ANC is in the hearts and minds of the overwhelming majority of South Africans”. However, the official results released by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) indicate that support for the ANC has subsided. In Limpopo and Mpumalanga, where the ANC recorded results of 85% in the 2009 elections, the party won 78% of the vote. In the Free State, 71% of voters voted for the ANC in 2009, as compared to 67% of voters in this year’s election. In the North West, the ANC won 73% of the vote in 2009 and 67% of the vote this year. The most dramatic decline in support for the ANC was in Gauteng, where the ANC dropped from 64% in 2009 to 53% this year.
Support for the ANC in South Africa’s other provinces did not increase significantly. In KwaZulu-Natal – where the DA won ten seats in the provincial legislature – support increased by one percentage point to 64%. Support in the Eastern Cape also increased by just one percentage point to 70%. In the Northern Cape, the only province in which there was any real increase in support, the ANC won 64% of the vote this year after winning 60% in 2009.
The DA, which won 22.23%, or 4 091 584, of the vote in this year’s election, remains the largest opposition party. Speaking before the official results were announced, Mmusi Maimane, who will now represent the DA in parliament, said that he hoped that the DA would win 25% of the vote.
New party EFF won the third biggest share of the vote with 6.35%, or 1 169 259, of the votes cast. Cope, which won 7.42% of the vote in 2009, only won 0.67% of the vote.
Of the votes cast in this year’s elections, 251 960 votes were spoilt, and leaders of the “Sidikiwe! Vukani! Vote No!” campaign claimed in a statement that this was why the ANC did not win the election with a two-thirds majority.
Despite allegations that ballots had been replicated or thrown away, observers ruled that the elections were free and fair.
Speaking at the official release of the results last Saturday, IEC deputy chairperson Terry Tselane said that, “These elections weren’t perfect. No election is. In the next coming weeks we will be reflecting and looking at what went wrong.”
Despite this, IEC chairperson Pansy Tlakula declared the elections to be free and fair.
“Today as we celebrate two decades of democracy and conclude our fifth national and provincial elections, we can affirm to one another and to the world [that] democracy is alive and thriving in our land. On Wednesday, 18 million South Africans stood together as a nation as they did in 2009, 2004, 1999 and, most famously, in 1994,” she said at the same function.