The president called on ANC supporters to ensure the party wins a majority in the 2024 elections.

President Cyril Ramaphosa used the January 8 statement at the Mbombela Stadium in Mpumalanga on Saturday to warn South Africans about coalition governments.

With elections set for later this year, many analysts have predicted that the ANC faces a risk of getting less than 50% of the national vote. If this happens, the ruling party will have to form a coalition to retain power.

Though South Africa has never been run by a coalition government before, many metropolitan municipalities have had coalition government in recent years, such as the City of Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay.

In most cases, the coalition governments have faced stumbling blocks.

‘Bitter experience’ of coalition governments

“The frustrating experience of dysfunctional coalition governments has shown that they don’t work for the people but for the political deal-makers intent on advancing their own personal interests,” Ramaphosa told supporters inside Mbombela Stadium.

He said service delivery usually suffers when this happens.

“Replicating this bitter experience of chaos, instability and dysfunctionality at national and provincial levels will be a disaster that our country cannot afford.”

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The president called on ANC supporters to ensure this doesn’t happen.

“We call on all ANC members and supporters to go to every farm, village and township, to every town, city and suburb to account to the people as we seek a renewed democratic mandate to defend and advance the gains of three decades of freedom.”

Watch: Ramaphosa delivers January 8 statement

ANC losing electoral support

The ANC has lost support in recent national and local government elections. The ruling party won the 2019 elections with a reduced majority of 57.50%. This was down from the 62.15% it won in the 2014 election.

Factional infighting within the ANC has also led to splinter parties forming – the latest being the uMkhonto weSizwe party that has the support of former president Jacob Zuma. These could lead to the ANC losing votes in the 2024 elections.

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In October 2023, political analyst Sandile Swana told The Citizen he thinks the ANC will lose Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). He also predicted that a coalition government will rule the country.

“Whether the opposition is fragmented or not, the ANC is already falling below 50% and we are headed towards a coalition government,” said Swana.

“The 2024 elections are going to see a reconfiguration of South African politics, as you see in the Joburg metro, where a mayor emerges from a smaller party.”

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Additional reporting by Brian Sokutu.

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