South Africans Begin Voting in Pivotal Election, ANC Faces Potential Loss of Majority

JOHANNESBURG – South Africans began voting on Wednesday in a crucial election that could signal a major political shift if the governing African National Congress (ANC) loses its majority, as opinion polls suggest.

In this election, voters are selecting nine provincial legislatures and a new national parliament, which will subsequently choose the country’s next president. If the ANC secures less than 50% of the national vote, it will need to form coalitions to govern, marking the first such scenario in the 30 years since the party, led by Nelson Mandela, ended apartheid and rose to power.

Polling stations opened at 0500 GMT and will remain open until 1900 GMT. Over 27 million people are registered to vote out of South Africa’s population of approximately 62 million. The Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa is expected to start releasing partial results within hours after the polls close, with final results due within seven days.

The outcome of this election could reshape South Africa’s political landscape, potentially leading to the ANC’s first experience with coalition governance. This possibility reflects growing public dissatisfaction with the ANC amid issues such as corruption, unemployment, and economic challenges.

As South Africans cast their votes, the world watches to see if this election will usher in a new era of political dynamics in the country.