Not worth the bother
What’s behind SA’s 18m ‘missing’ votes?
About 9m people never registered to vote, and another 9m registered voters never voted. Why is this? And what does it mean in terms of political parties' real popular mandate?
The May 8 poll made for a bruising electoral contest — for SA’s two biggest political parties, at least. The ANC’s national support dropped below 60% for the first time since 1994, and the opposition DA secured 20.77% — down from 22.2% in 2014. For others, such as the EFF, IFP and Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus), the election was a success. The EFF increased its share of the vote to 10.8%, the IFP to 3.38% and the FF Plus to 2.38%. But to put this in context: of the 26.8-million South Africans registered to vote, 65.99% turned out on the day. That means about 9-million registered voters decided not to vote. And that’s not counting the roughly 9-million of an estimated 35.8-million eligible voters (the voting-age population, or VAP) who did not register for the polls. In all, it makes for about 18-million uncast votes: a significant proportion when one considers the ANC’s 57% mandate hinges on 10-million votes. It’s further evidence of a general downward trend in voter participation in ...