Era of coalition government set to become a reality in SA after national elections next year

Several political parties came together to re-affirm their stance in the multi- party coalition lead by the DA. Picture: Timothy Bernard Independent Newspapers.

Several political parties came together to re-affirm their stance in the multi- party coalition lead by the DA. Picture: Timothy Bernard Independent Newspapers.

Published Dec 23, 2023


This week, ANC stalwart Mavuso Msimang indicated that the most stable coalition after the 2024 elections will be between the ANC and the DA.

Msimang who was being interviewed by eNCA this week spoke after his return to the ANC following his brief resignation from the ruling party.

“The most stable coalition given the current situation will be between the DA and the ANC. It will really bring about stability if it were to be worked out carefully… if the ANC was forced into a coalition, it would be the most stable for the nation,” Msimang said.

Two different polls have put the ANC at below 50% in the upcoming elections, indicating that the era of coalition government has become a reality.

According to the latest poll by market research organisation Ipsos, 43% of registered voters are likely to give their support to the ANC.

According to the Ipsos poll which was conducted from July 1 to 23 through face-to-face interviews with 3 600 people, the ruling party is likely to get 43% share of the country’s eligible voters while another poll conducted by the Social Research Foundation (SRF), revealed that the ANC will garner 45% in the elections.

Political commentators argue that even though the DA has rallied support of smaller parties in the form of the multi-party charter, this arrangement will not be enough to unseat the ANC, with the next big thing being a marriage of convenience between the ANC and the DA.

Should this become a reality, DA leader, John Steenhuisen might just be the country’s deputy president.

However, the newly formed Multi-Party Charter (MPC), led by the DA, is unlikely to win enough votes to form a coalition government to unseat the ANC from power, even if the governing party receives less than 50% of the national vote.

Speaking to Saturday Star this week, public policy specialist and lecturer, Dr Kagiso Pooe, said the possibility of an ANC/DA coalition is likely to emerge should the ANC fall short of getting 50% share of the votes.

“That can happen only if the ANC achieves less than (45%) in the general election and both parties’ funders urge them to avert what they feel might be an untenable state of instability. Furthermore, the DA would need to have a solid (18%-22%) to ensure only they and the ANC are part of a two-party coalition or political arrangement,” Pooe said.

He added that should this arrangement materialise, it might usher in a new deputy president in the form of DA leader, John Steenhuisen.“Its more likely (that Steenhuisen could become deputy president) if the ANC and DA reach agreeable semi-legal-political coalition.

“But this will also see other DA heavyweights gain Cabinet positions either as outright ministers or deputy ministers,” he said.

Another commentator, Thobani Zikala, said the most openly spoken about coalition is that of the DA/ANC which is likely to be an eventuality after the upcoming elections.

“The most openly spoken about coalition is that of the ANC and the DA. I don’t think in the corridors of the ANC it is the most accepted coalition but leaders and veterans of the party have spoken about it.

“However, I do not see the DA having more than 30% which will give it a bigger bargaining power. With the emergence of new parties, you find yourself in the position where the DA could be capped at around 15 to 20% due to the emergence of new parties,” he said.

Another possibility which has been shunned is that of an EFF and ANC coalition government.

However, Pooe says this will happen only under three extreme realities.

“This is possible only if three realities exist. Firstly, the ANC would need to have lost dismally in the general elections and achieved between (40%-45%) results and internal dynamics forced to be open to this reality. Secondly, there might not be a President Ramaphosa present in this arrangement and (this would lead to) ‘warm’ supporters of the EFF spearheading this new reality,” he said.

Saturday Star