Africa News blog

African business, politics and lifestyle

Zuma sweeps in

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It was South Africa’s most exciting election campaign for a long time, enlivened by the split in the African National Congress and the personality of Jacob Zuma, the man who is now pretty much assured of becoming president despite the best efforts of plenty of people within his party as well as the opposition.

So far, the results don’t look too different from the pre-poll forecasts. An ANC victory was never in doubt and the battle was as much as anything about whether the party could keep its two-thirds majority in parliament, which lets it change the constitution and further entrench its power. That was still in doubt after early figures.

There was not much good news for the Congress of the People (COPE), formed by loyalists of ousted former President Thabo Mbeki. With only about eight percent of the vote so far, the question may be as much whether it survives as whether it can supplant the Democratic Alliance as the main opposition.

The DA seemed to have done fairly well with its “Stop Zuma” campaign, at least in its Western Cape stronghold, but there was no sign of it making inroads among the black majority.

Will South Africa’s poor always back ANC?

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It’s one of the biggest ironies in South African politics — the most loyal ANC voters are often those the party appears to have let down most bitterly.

For millions of poor, mostly black South Africans, life has barely changed since the African National Congress defeated apartheid under Nelson Mandela in 1994.

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