The official election results were revealed on Saturday night by the Independent Electoral Commission in Pretoria, and shows that the ANC while still commanding majorities in most provinces is experiencing a decline in overall popularity.
The ANC secured a total of 57.5 percent of votes, down nearly five percent on the 2014 polls.
The IEC declared the elections “free and fair” and a jubilant President Cyril Ramaphosa asked the public and political parties to accept the results.
“Our people have now spoken and all of us are called on to respect the word of our people,” Ramaphosa said.
“We can declare with certainty that democracy has emerged victoriously in our country.”
ANC head of elections, Fikile Mbalula, said Ramaphosa was the reason behind the ANC’s victory.
“We came from zero and now we are where we are and we know to get 10 million is not child’s play. It is hard work by this leadership, led by President Ramaphosa, who became a game changer in this election,” Mbalula said.
Much of the ANC’s vote shedding appeared to have gone to the hard-left, with the Economic Freedom Fighters increasing their share of the vote from 6.35 percent in 2014 to 10.79 percent in 2019.
The official opposition Democratic Alliance, lost 470 396, or 2% of votes since 2014, obtaining only 20.77 percent this time around.
But the DA has cleaned up abroad, winning almost 75% of all votes cast outside South Africa, followed by the ANC with 11%, and the Freedom Front Plus (VF Plus) in third place with 5%.
DA Leader Mmusi Maimane said they were pleased to see that the ANC has been brought below 60% for the first time in democratic South Africa and hoped the trend will continue, “so that South Africa’s democracy can move beyond one-party dominance”.
He added: “Our loss of support nationally is a disappointment. We will reflect and evaluate the reasons for this and make the necessary changes.”
The EFF were the biggest winners nationally, growing their number of votes to 1.8 million - up 712 262 from the previous election.
The EFF is now the official opposition in Limpopo, North West and Mpumalanga.
The ANC has secured 230 seats in the National Assembly, followed by the DA, the official opposition with 84 seats, and the EFF with 44.
The IFP has 14 seats, the VF Plus 10, and the ACDP 4, while Patricia de Lille’s GOOD Party, the UDM, Cope, ATM, NFP and AIC all managed to secure 2 seats each.
The PAC and Al Jama-ah parties each secured one seat.
Meanwhile, Independent Media can reveal that lobbying is underway for a new deputy president, as Ramaphosa prepares to announce his new, trimmed Cabinet.
Ramaphosa is expected to drop controversial ministers who are seen as allies of former president Jacob Zuma.
It is understood that a group in the ANC are pushing for Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma or International Relations and Co-operation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu to replace Deputy President David Mabuza.