The ruling African National Congress (ANC) swept towards victory in South Africa’s fifth post-apartheid election, handing the President, Jacob Zuma, the clout to push through pro-business reforms in the face of union and leftist opposition.
Burdened with sluggish economic growth and damaging strikes in his first term, the scandal-plagued Mr Zuma has devoted less and less time over the past year to the wishes of unions, whose long walkouts have hit confidence in Africa’s most developed economy. He has also batted away opposition from the far left, squelching some expectations that the Economic Freedom Fighters would ride a wave of populist anger over widespread poverty and unemployment.
The ANC, the liberation movement that swept to power two decades ago under the leadership of Nelson Mandela, had won 63.7 per cent of Wednesday’s vote with nearly two-thirds of districts counted, the Independent Electoral Commission said.
“With this, he is much less beholden to the left,” said Nic Borain, a political analyst in Cape Town. He predicted that Mr Zuma would appoint a technocrat cabinet with the express mandate to roll out policies to boost growth.
Mr Zuma hinted this week that the ANC needed to take a more pro-business tack.