Smuts had angered South African nationalists by his moderate stance on South African independence from the British Empire. The worldwide depression after the end of the First World War had led to a strike in South Africa, which had been defused through a combination of military force and negotiation with the outgunned unions, earning Smuts the enmity of the labour vote. As a consequence Smuts's SAP was defeated by a Nationalist–Labour Pact, James Hertzog formed the government and became prime minister – a position he was to hold until 1939.
The South Africa Act 1909 had provided for a delimitation commission to define the boundaries for each electoral division. The representation by province, under the fourth delimitation report of 1923, is set out in the table below. The figures in brackets are the number of electoral divisions in the previous (1919) delimitation. If there is no figure in brackets then the number was unchanged.
The vote totals in the table below may not give a complete picture of the balance of political opinion, because of unopposed elections (where no votes were cast) and because contested seats may not have been fought by a candidate from all major parties.
The total registered electorate was 413,136. The votes cast were 319,047 (including 2,805 spoilt votes).