South Africans Head to the Polls With a Chance for Change

A voter cast her ballot at a polling station in Umlazi on May 29, 2024 during South Africa
Zinyange Auntony / AFP via Getty

South Africans headed to the polls Wednesday for general elections in which the ruling African National Congress (ANC) has a chance of losing power at the national level for the first time since multiracial democracy began in 1994.

The South African electorate is frustrated with the ANC’s persistent and debilitating corruption, as well as high crime; electricity and water shortages; and economic stagnation that has included unemployment rates well over 30%.

The opposition, led by the centrist Democratic Alliance (DA), hoped to keep the ANC below 50% for the first time — and to outflank the radical Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), a far-left party that may form a coalition with the ANC.

Polls in the months leading up to the election varied widely, though the ANC seemed to be closing strong as it revved up its turnout machine and held large rallies around the country. The DA was expected to gain at the national level, while maintaining a majority at the provincial level in the Western Cape, the only one of the country’s nine provinces where it governs. It will take several days to count the votes.

Ballots are cast in person, for one day, and only upon presentation of a government-issued ID. An independent electoral commission then counts the ballots by hand.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.