#Elections19: As we wait for the dust to settle

It’s been almost 48 hours since the voting polls closed on 8 May and the whole of South
Africa eagerly awaits the results for the 2019 General Election. This year, the majority of South Africans aren’t wondering who the ruling party will be. The question is centered around the numbers this year. How much power does one have?

The country has come very far. On this day in 1994, the late Nelson Mandela
was inaugurated as the first democratic president of South Africa after the Apartheid era. This in itself shows the significance of elections to every South African glued to their TV and cellphone screens, checking the election updates every hour.

With only 86% of the results finalised as of 13:00 today, it became clear that the top three parties have remained the same this year: ANC, DA and EFF. 5,883 districts and two provinces, Northern Cape and North West, have also finalized their votes with these three parties taking the top spots.

This news may fail to surprise many citizens, however the interesting twist to this plot is the number of votes that they obtained. The ANC has already gained 8 million votes, DA is in second place with 3 million, and the EFF have 10.22% of the votes
of the 86% votes already counted.

It has been predicted that the ruling party may decrease by 8.4% in this year’s elections, as they had 62% in the last elections in 2014. This leaves them with many questions needing answers and journey back to the drawing board with a coalition still in the
bag for them.

The lower results were to be expected since only 65% of registered voters participated in this year’s elections, which is a 73% drop from 2014. Many of those who did not turn out to vote were the youth, who make up the majority of the South African population. Over six million youths did not register to vote in this year’s elections though the issues of unemployment, expensive tertiary education, and the high standard of living in South Africa mostly affect them.

The current results have stepped on some toes. Many minority political parties have boycotted these results already, deeming them unfair and unconstitutional. 14 political parties have vowed to take the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to court for displaying ‘bias’.

Additionally, 35 political parties walked away from the IEC’s media briefing to announce the results on Friday afternoon. Nonetheless, one cannot deny the effort that the IEC has made to ensure free and fair elections. They managed to accommodate every voter, even those who had not registered at the places they made their mark on 8 May. Provision was made for all. Moreover, they had a handle on the voting stations that experienced unrest, making sure that all South Africans were given the opportunity to vote even when in unfavourable conditions.

Even in light of the 20 South Africans who tried to cheat the system by voting more than once, the IEC was able to catch these individuals and had them arrested.

With the results due on Saturday, every South African awaits the verdict to another chapter into the country’s democracy.

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