Is South Africa ready for a Multi-Party government?

In South Africa, national elections are held every five years to choose the administration that would rule the nation. The first democratic elections were held in 1994 from April 26 to 29, when South Africa became a democracy. Since then, we have undergone six general elections. In those elections, the majority of the nation’s population exercised their right to vote in a largely democratic system that allowed them to select the candidates who would represent them and enact equivalent changes regardless of the candidates’ skin colours.

If you had asked anyone back then whether they saw any coalition taking place in the near future, they would have told you straight up that it wasn’t possible because they wouldn’t cooperate with their enemies who had torched them for the longest time. Even the National Party was unwilling to compromise into sharing equality with African people. The African National Congress won those General Elections with more than twelve million voters voting alongside the Green, Black, and Gold political party.

The second non-racial election on 2 June 1999 saw the ANC remain victorious in polls gaining more seats in the National Assembly, According to the stats by the Independent Electoral Commission(IEC) the independent election body of South Africa there were 18 177 000 registered voters, 16 228 462 votes cast overall (voter turnout), 251 320 invalid or blank ballots were cast, and 15 977 142 votes were deemed to be genuine. The ANC received 10 601 330 votes, followed by the DP with 1 527 337, the IFP with 1 371 477, the NNP with 1 098 215, the UDM with 546 790, the ACDP with 228 972, the FF with 127 280, the UCDP with 125 280, and the PAC with 113 215 votes.

The ANC secured 266 of the 400 seats in the National Assembly, followed by the NNP with 27, the DP with 38, the IFP with 33, the UDM with 14, the ACDP with 6, and the FF with 3. Three seats were won by UDCP, three by PAC, two by FA, one by MF, one by AZAPO, and one by AEB.

First Coalition under a Democratic government in SA

It appears that coalitions are nothing new in this country, but they were not as common as they are now. On June 9, 1999, the South African Liberation Front (SALF) entered into a coalition with the Indian Minority Front (MF), which had just one seat in the new Assembly, under the leadership of Thabo Mbeki’s Second Democratic Government. The alliance was disbanded because the ruling party planned to rewrite a portion of the constitution and therefore needed a majority to approve the legislation.

2016 Local Govenment elections Shock

The rejection of voters, particularly in urban areas around the country, who found themselves not voting the rulling power back to power, was a powerful warning for the rulling party in the 2016 municipal elections. Most people will never witness it with their own many political parties think they could govern the municipalities more effectively than the existing government? Over 200 parties participated in polls that year.

Allocation of seats in major councils were as follows in 2016

Due to the ruling party’s failure to secure an absolute majority, the leading government is in a downward spiral and is slowly moving toward the Coalition system as things stands.

Buffalo City

The ANC won 60 seats in Buffalo City, Eastern Cape, followed by the DA with 24 seats. The EFF received eight seats. The Democratic Alliance (DA) holds 57 seats in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro area, whereas the ruling party holds 50 seats. The ANC holds a commanding 58 seats in the Mangaung metro council in the Free State, followed by the DA with 27 seats and the EFF with 9.


With 109 seats, the ANC was able to reclaim control of Ekurhuleni from the DA, who came in second with 77 seats, and the EFF, who came in third with 25 seats.

City of Tshwane

Following the completion of voting in the City of Tshwane, the DA took back control of the metro from the incumbent party by winning 93 seats, followed by the ANC with 89 seats and the EFF with 25 seats.

City of Johannesburg

The Joburg results, the DA won 104 seats and 38.44 percent of the vote. Since 2011, the support for the opposition has increased by over 4 percentage points. The  Johannesburg results reveal 30 seats and 11.11 percent support for the EFF.


The ANC continues to hold dominance in KwaZulu-Ethekwini Natal’s metro, where the final seat computation gave the party a comfortable 126 seats to the DA’s 61 seats. Ten council seats went to the IFP.

City of Cape Town

The DA maintained its two-thirds majority in the City of Cape Town by winning an astounding 154 seats. With 57 seats, the ANC will be the official opposition, and the EFF will hold seven seats.Mashinini claimed that now that the elections have been held, it is up to the more than 9000 council members who have been chosen to uphold the wishes of the electorate.

The 2021 local elections put an end to the ruling party’s attempts to adapt to the opposition party, as the opposition party successfully made the ANC the opposition party by joining forces with smaller parties to form a multi-party government in the local municipality. The big three metropolises of Gauteng, namely Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, and Tshwane, are now led by the Parliament and a country’s opposition party, Democratic Alliance, but the biggest issue is still to be resolved.

As its seems like coalition is the future but Some of the scholars have a different view about the future of multi party government,Thabani Khumalo an analyst deposited this vews regarding the coalition government “If coalition governments have failed at local government where political leadership is supposed to be guided by common local challenges and aspirations which include the provision of basic services such as housing, water, energy, safety, transport, etc – expecting coalitions to succeed where political leadership and administration are influenced and guided by political ideologies is a pipe dream,” said Khumalo.

Khumalo cites greed political leaders as the main reason of coalition failor “The government of national unity demonstrated what could be achieved through a coalition arrangement, but that was then when there was a commitment to serving the people, not individuals,” Khumalo stressed.

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