What elections 2024 results means to the Indigenous Peoples?

This election has delivered its first change to the structure of the national governing administration since the dawn of democracy, with the term “ruling party” finding no space to feature, says the writer.

This election has delivered its first change to the structure of the national governing administration since the dawn of democracy, with the term “ruling party” finding no space to feature, says the writer.

Published Jun 7, 2024


The Republic of South Africa’s seventh National Election in the democratic dispensation has concluded.

The results have been delivered by the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), and accepted by the president, Cyril Ramaphosa. In the end, this election has delivered its first change to the structure of the national governing administration since the dawn of democracy, with the term “ruling party” finding no space to feature.

The Republic, for the duration of the seventh administration, will have a coalition government or government of national unity (GNU).

Noting that the ANC) has announced their decision to invite other political parties to form a GNU, the previous failed attempt at this option after the 1994 election offers me space to only focus on a coalition government.

Added encouragement to focus on this path is that the mere fact the ANC has positioned a GNU, does not mean it will materialise .

Then, whilst many, even globally, are now enthralled in discussing the possible scenario outcomes before the seventh administration’s president is announced, I am interested in what this election means to the Indigenous people whose lands the Republic was illegally established on.

In an opinion piece leading up to the election, I looked at what political parties were doing in relation to the Indigenous people.

Were we being factored into any of the campaigning by the various parties? In addition, if there was any such campaigning done, what was attached to factoring in the Indigenous Peoples? Meaning, were we there any promises made to our peoples?

With stakeholders such as mainstream media hardly giving attention to the Indigenous factor, one would understand why any expectations from political parties to advance our cause can be considered naïve.

The results of the election, as it clearly is for millions of others, provides for interesting possible outcomes. This is due to the fact that, as alluded to above, there is no majority winner. Although there was most likely never going to be a majority winner outside of the ANC, getting the ANC below 50% was for many competing parties the primary target. With that now achieved, the behind-the-scenes activities have received a fresh dose of nitrous-oxide.

With 40.18% of the votes, it seems as if any national government will include the ANC. This is because there is no realistic formation that will produce the majority vote excluding the ANC. Importantly, the ANC has shared with the public their invitation to other parties to form a GNU. With that understanding and position, let us have a look at the available options for a coalition.

Finding themselves with the second most amount of votes, at 21.81%, the DA was being presented as the best coalition partner for the ANC – oh, call it a GNU if you please, but a DA inclusion is still seen as going into coalition with them. With the collective votes, this partnership offers the ANC an extremely strong position.

That would relate to around 60% of the seats in Parliament – 246 out of 400 seats, to be exact. The only other option available to the ANC to go into a coalition with only one party is the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK), ending the election with 14.58% of the votes. This coalition would give the presiding government 217 seats in Parliament. Although this is 13 seats shy of what the ANC achieved in the 2019 election, it still is more than the threshold required to govern.

It is the inclusion of other parties that adds some marginalised Cape Malay spice to the equation that will produce the next administration. With 9.52% of the votes, the EFF offers the ANC the strongest option among the rest. However, the EFF also offers the best option for a three-party-max coalition that does not include the DA and MK parties. This coalition merely needs three seats from any other party capable of offering it to on-board. This could be an ANC-EFF-IFP or ANC-EFF-PA coalition, as others are already presenting. For insight, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and Patriotic Alliance (PA) received 3.85% and 2.06% of the votes respectively. Or, political parties such as the Freedom Front Plus and ActionSA, with 1.36% and 1.2% respectively, could fill the role of the third party.

The above-mentioned three-party scenarios are the simplest, at the most basic level. Because, what those numbers/percentages also actually speaks to is why the voters chose to make their marks next to the party on the national ballot paper.

Noting that, in the mix of the voters, were Indigenous Peoples knowingly or unknowingly voting for a better future for themselves as the Indigenous Peoples of these lands. What then do the various leading scenarios offer to the Indigenous Peoples and our continued work centred around (i) our recognition by the South African government (one can rather directly focus on the Constitution here, and therefore all three branches of the government come into play), and (ii) the current work being done to develop the Indigenous sovereignty?

Referencing what I have been exposed to via mainstream media before the ANC’s GNU announcement, the options to the ANC is to align with, in political terms, the left or right. That is their simplicity, and it can be understood clearly - That is another reason why my focus is here, and not the GNU. It also allows space for some of the not-yet-mentioned political parties. The DA, in the lead-up to the election, formed part of was is known as the Moonshot Pact, or Multi-Party Charter (MPC). In addition to the IFP and ActionSA, this partnership includes the African Christian Democratic Party, the United Independent Movement, the Spectrum National Party, the Independent South African National Civic Organisation, the Ekhethu People’s Party and the United Christian Democratic Party.

However, noting that the DA has availed themselves to form a government with the ANC, thus going against the ultimate objective of the partnership to dethrone the ANC, the MPC now finds itself as a non-threat and non-entity.

What then does this left or right move mean to Indigenous Peoples? Well, on the top-prioritised matter of recognition, it is clear that going left is more to our advantage than the alternative.

This is because, as mentioned in my previous article (Cape Argus, 19 April 2024 – Elections through an Indigenous Lens), of the now four main parties, the ANC began to include a focus on our people. However, it was the MK that came out the most revolutionary, with Jacob Zuma highlighting the fact the IXam and Khoe peoples are the original people of these lands. Furthermore, he stressed that restorative justice for the Indigenous Peoples have been grotesquely marginalised by the democratic governments.

From the republic’s perspective, point (ii) of our interests is more in play. To the point, this is directly linked to the matter of the land, and its resources. We know that any move to the right will further strengthen the push-back by many to address this crucial matter. As the development of the Indigenous sovereignty includes our economy, the national question of the land among the diverse actors in the Republic remains a key interest to us.

Khaeb (Shaun MacDonald)

When considering the election campaigning, and as a late addition, their various individual policies, any move to the left is understandably considered as the preferred option going forward. The party with the greatest gains this election is also the one that presented the best advocacy during its campaigning. As an Indigenous person, I would welcome the MK in the coalition government.

Whatever decision is made by the political leaders, it is important to know that the international Indigenous community is also observing keenly. Allow for Indigenous principles to guide you. It cannot be that your primary focus is an economy. Those principles have failed on these lands since 1652.

* Khaeb an Indigenous business leader, and CEO of The Khoeporation (SA’s first Indigenous Strategic Advisory company)

Related Topics:

elections 2024