Monday, 13 May 2019 ANC wins reduced majority in South African election The governing African National Congress (ANC) has retained a majority in the South African National Assembly, but with its majority reduced from its previous result in 2014. With the country's final votes from its 8 May election counted, the ANC, which has governed the country since the permanent post-apartheid constitution was enacted in 1996, has won 230 seats out of 400, down from its previous total of 249. Incumbent President Calvin Radebe, who took over for the scandal-ridden Simon Tambo in January 2015, is almost certain to be elected president for a five-year term of his own on the basis of the ANC's majority when the new parliament is set to convene on 22 May. Many political analysts and betting markets predicted the outcome, based on public approval of both Radebe and the ANC in general. The party, which was a major force in opposition to the white minority government that ruled South Africa until 1994, has ruled the country without interruption for nearly one quarter of a century and can claim credit for a peaceful, growing South Africa. But it has also seen two of the four presidents it has elected resign in disgrace after investigations into official corruption, and has largely failed to change systemic legacies of the apartheid system that economically disadvantaged the non-white majority. The latter is why issues such as land redistribution, youth unemployment and high crime rates dominated the election, with opposition parties from the far-left Economic Freedom Fighters to the right-wing, Zulu nationalist Inkatha Freedom Party criticizing the ANC for its perceived failure to ameliorate those social ills. Radebe, 70, called the election a "great success" and said he had "heard the voice of the people" at the ballot box. "We will root out and expel all the bad elements, and try to end all bad tendencies," Radebe said in his victory speech. "We in the party leadership have heard the voice of the people...those who have shared their concerns with us, and those who feel we have not heard their concerns. We will go into those communities and seek out those who feel abandoned or frustrated, and hear their concerns." Despite Radebe's mandate for a five year term, some in political circles say that his age and health issues (Radebe has suffered from several kidney ailments and had a pacemaker installed in 2008 after years of suffering from cardiac arrhythmia) might result in him resigning ahead of his term's end in 2024. Several high-profile ANC leaders have been positioned as his possible successor, including Deputy President David Tshali (who is viewed as the current favorite and would be the first ANC leader who was not an active party member during the apartheid era), Premier Vusi Mabuza of Mpumalanga and Minister of Health Joyce Didiza-Kuzwayo (who would be the first female leader of the ANC). President Radebe reacts to returns (photo credit: Fred Amugi) -------------------------------------------- Casting Fred Amugi as Calvin Redebe OOC: Here is a list of South African presidents I drew up with backstory: Spoiler: South African Presidents, 1984 to present State Presidents of South Africa 01. 1984-1989: P.W. Botha (National)  1987: 123/166 seats (Majority) -- . 1989: Chris Heunis (National) (acting) 02. 1989-1996: Frederick Hymans (National)  1992: 94/166 (Majority) 1994: 377/400 (Majority)  Presidents of South Africa 01. 1996-2006: Mkhuseli Mbeki (African National Congress)  1996: 266/400 (Majority) 2001: 279/400 (Majority) 02. 2006-2008: Jonathan Ngcunka (African National Congress)  2006: 263/400 (Majority) 03. 2008-2015: Simon Tambo (African National Congress)  2009: 251/400 (Majority) 2014: 249/400 (Majority) 04. 2015-0000: Calvin Radebe (African National Congress)  2019: 230/400 (Majority) - Botha served as the first executive state president after the Constitution of 1983 was adopted, transferring power to the formerly ceremonial office and abolishing the post of prime minister. As the international community, including South Africa's allies such as the United States began to turn uniformly against the apartheid regime, Botha remained a staunch defender of the system of racial discrimination, even as he made some moves to moderate the system's excesses. However, his presidency would mark the height of violence during apartheid, with thousands of anti-apartheid activists attacked, detained and tortured by government forces during his tenure. Following a stroke in early 1989, Botha was persuaded to resign the presidency following a brief acting presidency under National Party stalwart Chris Heunis while Botha was incapacitated. He would campaign against his successor's efforts to end apartheid and would defend his tenure and the system he upheld until his death in 2006. - After taking over from Botha, Hymans began an almost complete break from his predecessor. He began lifting parts of the apartheid laws that banned certain political parties like the African National Congress (ANC) that had advocated violence against the apartheid regime and freeing political prisoners, most famously ANC leader Nelson Mandela. Hymans also would order the destruction of South Africa's nuclear program and its nuclear stockpile, and saw open negotiations with anti-apartheid, majority-black parties begin in 1991. His National Party won the 1992 all-white elections, giving him a political mandate to end the apartheid system. The CODESA (Convention for a Democratic South Africa) negotiations laid out a framework for the transition to majority rule, with a universal constitutional assembly becoming the de facto legislature ahead of permanent elections under a new constitution. After ANC leader Nelson Mandela opted not to seek the presidency, citing his age and health issues owing to his time in prison, Hymans' term was extended until a new constitution was proclaimed in exchange for his cabinet being required to reflect the partisan makeup of the Constituent Assembly. - The 1994 Constitutional Assembly elections were the first elections with universal suffrage in South African history and were won overwhelmingly by the pro-CODESA parties led by the ANC. Per the CODESA agreements, Hymans' cabinet was reshuffled to reflect (as closely as possible) the partisan makeup of the Constitutional Assembly. With the ANC holding a majority of cabinet posts and members of the constitutional assembly, Hymans' final two years saw him shift radically to the left as he hoped (in vain, it would turn out) to attract newly-enfranchised black voters away from the ANC to prevent the party from winning a super-majority in the new National Assembly. - Mbeki became the first non-white head of state in South Africa since the country achieved self-governance in 1910. A former ANC leader and political activist, Mbeki finalized the transition from apartheid, extending an olive branch to the members of the former apartheid regime and security state while the Truth and Reconciliation Committee cataloged the crimes and human rights abuses perpetrated on the majority of South Africans during the nearly five decades of apartheid. While applauded for taking over the leadership of the ANC from Mandela, the economic growth he oversaw during his tenure and for his guidance of the country into a liberal democracy with universal suffrage and human rights, Mbeki was heavily criticized for his statements on HIV/AIDS. Despite nearly 1 in 4 South African adults being infected with either HIV or AIDS, Mbeki publicly questioned the link between the two, and banned antiretroviral drugs in public hospitals, which his critics say caused the premature deaths of hundreds of thousands in South Africa during his tenure. - The heir apparent to Mbeki, Ngcunka's presidency was notable for his complete failure to work alongside other high-ranking leaders in the ANC. Combined with investigations into corruption, this resulted in an unprecedented amount of floor-crossing to opposition parties or the creation of new parties during the window that South African law (at the time) allowed. Following this embarrassment, Ngcunka was persuaded to resign in favor of the new party president, Simon Tambo. - Tambo was barely in office when he announced that he would call for early elections at the earliest possible time constitutionally. In 2009, with the previous parliament having sat for the necessary three years, the ANC MPs voted as a bloc to dissolve the National Assembly for new elections. The result was that while the ANC lost seats compared to its 2006 performance, it gained back most of the seats that had been lost to party-switching during the Ngcunka administration. After the ANC-led Parliament amended the Constitution to outlaw floor-crossing, South Africa briefly became the center of the sporting world as it hosted the 2010 World Cup, with its administration and hosting of the event praised by the world community. Tambo was in office when his predecessor, Frederick Hymans, served on the Provisional Governing Council of Jerusalem and then was killed during the attack on the inauguration of President Ben Sawahili by Syria. After winning a second term of his own in 2014, Tambo's presidency quickly became engulfed in a massive corruption scandal after it emerged that he had knowingly allowed several political friends and allies to embezzle public funds and misuse their government positions for personal gain. With his public support evaporating and with the ANC leadership under great pressure to end the scandal before the party's centennial celebration in 2015, Tambo resigned on New Year's Day 2015, just a week before his party turned 100. - Calvin Radebe had previously been considered to succeed first Mbeki and then Ngcunka, but his poor health had led to him being passed over both times. Now, with his strongest rivals in the party discredited, he easily captured the ANC leadership and then the presidency. Filling out the rest of Tambo's term, Radebe waffled publicly about whether he would seek a term of his own, before deciding to stay on to contest the 2019 elections.