Photo Credit: GovernmentZA
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa.

In a significant political shift, South Africa’s long-ruling African National Congress (ANC) party has lost its absolute majority for the first time. This development represents a devastating blow to the party once led by the iconic Nelson Mandela. The ANC, which has been at the forefront of efforts to bring legal actions against Israel in support of Hamas, has dominated the South African political landscape for three decades since winning the nation’s first post-apartheid elections in 1994.

The runner-up, the Democratic Alliance, has a moderate approach to the conflict in the Middle East and promotes maintaining South Africa’s ability to impact a peaceful solution by keeping good diplomatic relations with all parties.


South Africa’s Constitution stipulates that the party with the highest number of votes has a two-week window from the official announcement of results to establish a new government. Given this scenario, the ANC now faces an unprecedented situation where it must forge a coalition with one or more opposition parties to retain its grip on power. This marks a momentous departure from the ANC’s long-standing dominance, as it will be the first time the party has had to collaborate with other political forces to form a governing alliance.

The political future of President Cyril Ramaphosa is now shrouded in uncertainty. He holds the dubious distinction of being the first ANC president to preside over the party’s loss of its majority, with an unprecedented 17% plunge in its share of the vote, coupled with a dwindling voter turnout of 58%. Ramaphosa faces a formidable challenge in his bid to survive the remainder of his second term in office. If he succeeds in forming a government, the composition of the coalition, based on the election results, is likely to be fractious and divisive. The path ahead for the President and his party appears fraught with obstacles and uncertainties.

One of the parties Ramaphosa will have to consider is the Democratic Alliance, which received 22% of the vote. The DA advocates for liberal democracy, a market-driven economy, and non-racialism. It also holds a moderate position on Israel, although it supports a two-state solution.

The DA voted against the parliamentary motion in November 2023 to cut diplomatic ties with Israel, stating that “The ANC is scoring an own goal here. It’s a firm No from us. We need to have a stake in negotiating a peace.”

The uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK Party), led by former President Jacob Zuma who was forced to resign over corruption, won 15% of the vote, and Ramaphosa will have to decide whether to breathe new life into his enemy’s base.

The radical Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) that received 9% of the vote is vehemently anti-Israel and launched the move to shut down the Israeli diplomatic missions in South Africa.

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