South African general election, 2019

South African general election, 2019

TBD 2019

All 400 seats to the National Assembly of South Africa

Leader Cyril Ramaphosa Mmusi Maimane Julius Malema
Party African National Congress Democratic Alliance Economic Freedom Fighters
Last election 62.15% 22.23% 6.35%
Current seats 249 89 25
Seats needed 0 112 176

Incumbent President

Cyril Ramaphosa
African National Congress

General elections will be held in South Africa in 2019 to elect a new National Assembly and new provincial legislatures in each province. This will be the sixth election held since the end of the apartheid system in 1994. This election will determine who will become the next President of South Africa. Incumbent President Cyril Ramaphosa, the 5th President of South Africa, will lead the ruling African National Congress in the election to retain majority status and a full term in office as president; his predecessor, Jacob Zuma resigned from office on 14 February 2018 and was already ineligible for a third term in office as the South African Constitution limits a president to serve a maximum of two five-year terms.

Lead up to the election

Jacob Zuma was re-elected to a second five year term in 2014 and is ineligible to stand for re-election as State President. Following a cabinet reshuffle in March 2017 and the country's subsequent downgrade by international investment firms, hundreds of thousands of South Africans marched across the country demanding President Zuma's resignation. Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa kicked off his own presidential campaign on 22 April 2017, alongside former Deputy Finance Minister Mcibisi Jonas. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the ex-wife of Jacob Zuma appeared at several ANC Women's League events and is expected to announce her candidacy in the coming months in the run up to the 2017 ANC elective conference. Ramaphosa is believed to be aligned to the Anti-Zuma faction in the ANC, while Dlamini Zuma is expected to be endorsed by most of the pro-Zuma members of the ANC. The ANC Women's League announced its endorsement of Dlamini Zuma while COSATU announced it would support Ramaphosa.[1]

Following the South African municipal elections, 2016, the Democratic Alliance and the Economic Freedom Fighters announced coalition agreements across the country. In particular the cities of Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay giving rise to the serious possibility of national coalitions in the future. The DA achieved its best local electoral performance so far, while the EFF, contesting its first local government election, improved on its performance in the 2014 general election. The local polls were widely seen a turning point in the political landscape of South Africa, as the dominance of the ANC was greatly diminished while coalition and minority governments became more widespread.[2][3]

Ramaphosa has called for a judicial inquiry into state capture while Dlamini Zuma has based her campaign around economic transformation.[4]

On 20 March 2017 it was announced that a new political lobby group, the Freedom Movement (FM)[5] would be formed in opposition to Jacob Zuma and the ANC. The Freedom Movement was announced at the Hector Pietersen Memorial museum. It consists of the Democratic Alliance, United Democratic Movement, Congress of the People, Inkatha Freedom Party, African Christian Democratic Party, and the Economic Freedom Fighters. Union federation Fedusa and Solidarity joined the formation. Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu voiced his support on Twitter.

In June 2017, the South African Press alongside the amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism released thousands of emails linking the Gupta family to state capture and mass corruption including President Zuma, his son Duduzane and senior leaders in government and the ANC. As a result, the Acting Head of the Hawks Lt-Gen Yolisa Matakata has instituted an inquiry on the leaking of thousands e-mails between members of the Gupta family and their associates. The leaks also uncovered an attempt by U.K. based PR firm, Bell-Pottinger to stir racial tension in the country on behalf of the Zuma government.[6]

Electoral system

South Africa has a parliamentary system of government; the National Assembly consists of 400 members elected by proportional representation with a closed list approach. Two hundred members are elected from national party lists; the other 200 are elected from provincial party lists in each of the nine provinces.[7] The President of South Africa is elected by the National Assembly after the election.[8]

The provincial legislatures, which vary in size from 30 to 80 members, are also elected by proportional representation with closed lists. The premiers of each province will be elected by the respective provincial legislatures.[7]

The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) consists of 90 members, ten elected by each provincial legislature. The NCOP members will be elected by the provincial legislatures in proportion to the party makeup of the legislatures.[7]

Date of election

The term of the National Assembly is 5 years. The last general election was held on 7 May 2014[9], and the term of the National Assembly therefore ends on 6 May 2019, but the National Assembly remains competent to function from the time it is dissolved or its term expires, until the day before the first day of polling for the next National Assembly.

When the National Assembly's term expires (or if it is dissolved[10]), the President must call and set dates for an election, which must be held within 90 days of the date the National Assembly was dissolved or its term expired.[11]

Therefore if the National Assembly is not dissolved before 6 May 2019, the election must be held by 4 August 2019.

A proclamation calling and setting dates for an election may be issued before or after the expiry of the term of the National Assembly.[12]

Presidential candidates

African National Congress

The ANC held its elective conference in December 2017 where it elected the President, Deputy President, Chairperson, Secretary General, Deputy Secretary General and Treasurer. Candidates for party president and consequently also the party's candidate for President were:

The conference elected Cyril Ramaphosa as president and David Mabuza as deputy president.[16]

On 14 February 2018, Zuma resigned as President of South Africa, leading Ramaphosa, as Deputy President, to succeed him as acting president and serve out the remainder of Zuma's term. Ramaphosa was elected president on 15 February 2018. Ramaphosa will thus run for a full term in office as president.

Democratic Alliance

The DA held its Federal Congress on the 7–8 April 2018.[17] Current DA leader Mmusi Maimane ran unopposed and continued as leader and consequently as the party's presidential candidate in the upcoming election.

Economic Freedom Fighters

  • Julius Malema, Leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters
  • Floyd Shivambu, Chief Whip of the EFF in Parliament and Deputy President of the EFF

Opinion polling

Polling Organisation Fieldwork Date Sample Size ANC DA EFF Others Don't Know [lower-alpha 1] Lead
Ipsos 20 April to 7 June 2018 3,738 60 13 7 2 18 24
Ipsos May 2017 3,471 47 21 5 3 24 18
2014 Election Results 7 May 2014 N/A 62.2 22.2 6.4 9.2 26.5[lower-alpha 2] 44


  1. Includes Abstention and No answer responses
  2. Abstention rate


  1. "These could be the next leaders of the ANC". 2017-01-13. Retrieved 2017-06-06.
  2. "South Africa has broken the post-colonial narrative. It's a thrilling turning point". The Guardian. 2016-08-06. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-08-08.
  3. "Political parties will have to adjust to many more coalitions". Times Live. 2016-08-04. Retrieved 2016-09-04.
  4. Derrick Spies (2017-04-23). "Ramaphosa 'launches' campaign with attack on Zuma, Guptas". News24. Retrieved 2017-06-06.
  5. Genevieve Quintal (2017-04-20). "New lobby group Freedom Movement unites against Jacob Zuma".
  6. Genevieve Quintal (2017-06-05). "SUNDAY TIMES - Hawks confirm inquiry into leaked Gupta e-mails". Retrieved 2017-06-06.
  7. 1 2 3 "Election for National Assembly". ElectionGuide. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  8. "Zuma elected as President of South Africa". Sowetan Live. 21 May 2014. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  9. Electoral Commission - National elections report 2014. Independent Electoral Commission, South Africa. 2014. p. 2. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  10. In terms of section 50 of the Constitution.
  11. Section 49(2) of the Constitution.
  12. Section 49(2) of the Constitution.
  13. "6 Analysts Say Cyril Ramaphosa Is Leading The ANC Race. Could They Be Wrong?". Huffington Post South Africa. 2017-10-11. Retrieved 2017-11-15.
  14. Tolsi, Niren. "Road to December conference: Pandor announced as Ramaphosa's running mate". The M&G Online. Retrieved 2017-11-15.
  15. Tshidi Madia (2017-02-05). "Dlamini-Zuma launches presidential campaign". News24. Retrieved 2017-06-06.
  16. Ndou, Clive (18 December 2017). "Ramaphosa named new ANC president". The Witness. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
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