On 7 May 2014, less than half a year after the death of Nelson Mandela, South Africans democratically elected for the fourth time since 1994 the country’s national parliament and the various provincial governments. In a generally relaxed climate, all seemed well in the rainbow nation. Most parties welcomed the announced results. But do they and the South African people now have cause for optimism?
This contribution presents a summary report and analysis of the final stages of the lead up to the elections, the vote count, and the results, partly based on personal observations during 4–10 May 2014. It comments on the political trends now likely to emerge, as indicated by both the election results and the reactions of the parties to them. Furthermore, it offers a mapping of the current political landscape in the country, as reproduced in the national and provincial parliaments – and also as it exists outside of these institutions of governance.
Despite some institutional flaws that favored the ANC as the dominant party, the election campaigning was relatively open and fair – though, as always, the bigger parties had advantages thanks to the greater financial means at their disposal.
The voting and counting processes happened with only a few minor disturbances therein, and even at local “hotspots” hardly any disruptions occurred that could have cast doubts on the legitimacy of the electoral procedures.
The final results officially announced were finally accepted by all parties and the wider public, which testifies to the democratic nature and general political stability of South Africa’s current governance system.
The general analyses by observers tended to be more critical as regards the success of the bigger parties than the official party declarations themselves suggested, while it seems that the future of the ANC and of South Africa’s political landscape is being affected by growing voter apathy (mainly among the younger generation).
South Africa’s Elections 2014: And the Winner is?, GIGA Focus International Edition English, 04, July, urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-390973(2014),
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General Editor GIGA Focus Series: Prof. Dr. Sabine Kurtenbach