South Africa will hold elections on May 29

Election date coincides with celebrations for country’s 30 years of freedom and democracy

South Africa will hold national and provincial elections on May 29, coinciding with celebrations for the country’s 30 years of freedom and democracy, the presidency announced late Tuesday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa‘s office said he had met with the country’s nine premiers and the Independent Electoral Commission to discuss the state of readiness for the general elections.

“Beyond the fulfilment of our constitutional obligation, these upcoming elections are also a celebration of our democratic journey and a determination of the future that we all desire,’’ Ramaphosa said.

South Africa attained its freedom in 1994 after the end of the racially oppressive apartheid system which segregated and humiliated Blacks and non-whites for decades.

The country held its first democratic elections in 1994, choosing Nelson Mandela as the first democratically elected Black president.

Ramaphosa, 71, the flag bearer of the governing African National Congress (ANC) party in power since 1994, faces tough competition from the opposition which could reduce his party’s majority in parliament.

The ANC’s major competitors include the Democratic Alliance, the second largest political party in parliament, and the Economic Freedom Fighters, the third largest party, who have both launched their election manifestos.

According to experts, the ANC’s latest threat is the newly formed Umkhonto We Sizwe party backed by former President Jacob Zuma, who recently announced he will not vote for the ANC.

Opinion polls by the Social Research Foundation said earlier this month that Umkhonto We Sizwe could get up to 24% of the vote in Zuma’s home province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa’s second most populous.

The ANC will launch its manifesto on Saturday in KwaZulu-Natal.


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