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1994 South African general election

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1994 South African general election

← 1989 26–29 April 1994 1999 →

All 400 seats in the National Assembly
201 seats needed for a majority
Turnout86.87% (Increase 17.39pp)
  First party Second party Third party
Nelson Mandela 1994.jpg
F.W. de Klerk wait to speak in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania LCCN2011634246 (cropped).tif
Leader Nelson Mandela F. W. de Klerk Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Last election Banned party 48.19%, 94 seats Did not exist
Seats won 252 82 43
Seat change New party Decrease 12 New party
Popular vote 12,237,655 3,983,690 2,058,294
Percentage 62.65% 20.39% 10.54%
Swing New party Decrease 27.80pp New party

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
Constand Viljoen c. 1985.png
De Beer (cropped).png
ClarenceMakwetu (cropped).jpg
Leader Constand Viljoen Zach de Beer Clarence Makwetu
Last election Did not exist 20.00%, 33 seats Banned party
Seats won 9 7 5
Seat change New party Decrease 26 New party
Popular vote 424,555 338,426 243,478
Percentage 2.17% 1.73% 1.25%
Swing New party Decrease 18.27pp New party

State President before election

F. W. de Klerk

Elected President

Nelson Mandela

Ballot paper used in the 1994 election
Share of each party's votes in the election

General elections were held in South Africa between 26 and 29 April 1994.[1] The elections were the first in which citizens of all races were allowed to take part, and were therefore also the first held with universal suffrage. The election was conducted under the direction of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), and marked the culmination of the four-year process that ended apartheid.

Millions queued in lines over a four-day voting period. Altogether, 19,726,579 votes were counted, and 193,081 were rejected as invalid. As widely expected, the African National Congress (ANC), whose slate incorporated the labour confederation COSATU and the South African Communist Party, won a sweeping victory, taking 62 percent of the vote, just short of the two-thirds majority required to unilaterally amend the Interim Constitution. As required by that document, the ANC formed a Government of National Unity with the National Party and the Inkatha Freedom Party, the two other parties that won more than 20 seats in the National Assembly. The governing National Party polled just over 20%, and was thus eligible for a post of Vice President to incumbent president De Klerk. The new National Assembly's first act was to elect Nelson Mandela as President, making him the country's first black chief executive. He then appointed the Cabinet of Nelson Mandela.

The date 27 April is now a public holiday in South Africa, Freedom Day.



The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) entered the election late, and it was added to the already-printed ballot papers by means of a sticker.[2] In rural areas with limited infrastructure, people queued "for days" in order to vote.[2]

The Conservative Party, the official opposition in the outgoing National Assembly, did not contest the elections. The Herstigte Nasionale Party, which had run in the white-only elections in 1989 also chose not to run.



National Assembly


The 400 members of the National Assembly were chosen from party lists in proportion to each party's share of the national ballot.

African National Congress12,237,65562.65252
National Party3,983,69020.3982
Inkatha Freedom Party2,058,29410.5443
Freedom Front424,5552.179
Democratic Party338,4261.737
Pan Africanist Congress243,4781.255
African Christian Democratic Party88,1040.452
Africa Muslim Party34,4660.180
African Moderates Congress Party27,6900.140
Dikwankwetla Party19,4510.100
Federal Party17,6630.090
Minority Front13,4330.070
Sport Organisation for Collective Contributions and Equal Rights10,5750.050
African Democratic Movement9,8860.050
Women's Rights Peace Party6,4340.030
Ximoko Progressive Party6,3200.030
Keep It Straight and Simple Party5,9160.030
Workers' List Party4,1690.020
Luso-South African Party3,2930.020
Valid votes19,533,49899.02
Invalid/blank votes193,1120.98
Total votes19,726,610100.00
Registered voters/turnout22,709,15286.87
Source: African Elections Database



The 90 members of the Senate were chosen, 10 from each province, by the newly elected provincial legislatures. Each province's Senate seats were allocated in proportion to the parties' representation in the provincial legislature.

Determination of seats in the Senate as a consequence of the 26–29 April 1994 provincial elections
African National Congress 9 8 6 3 8 8 5 10 3 60
National Party 1 1 2 1 1 1 4 6 17
Inkatha Freedom Party 5 5
Freedom Front 1 1 1 1 1 5
Democratic Party 1 1 1 3
Total 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 90
Source: Constitution of South Africa[3]

In 1997, on the adoption of the final Constitution, the Senate became the National Council of Provinces; its political makeup remained the same, but members were divided into permanent and special delegates, as described in the following table.

Initial determination of delegates to the National Council of Provinces at the adoption of the new Constitution on 4 February 1997
Party Delegate type EC FS G KZN M NW NC NP WC Total
African National Congress Permanent 5 4 3 1 4 4 3 6 2 32 60
Special 4 4 3 2 4 4 2 4 1 28
National Party Permanent 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 3 11 17
Special 1 2 3 6
Inkatha Freedom Party Permanent 3 3 5
Special 2 2
Freedom Front Permanent 1 1 1 1 1 5
Democratic Party Permanent 1 1 1 3
Total 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 90
Source: Constitution of South Africa[3]

Provincial legislature results


Members of the provincial legislatures were elected from party lists in proportion to each party's share of the provincial ballot.

ANC 48 24 50 26 25 26 15 38 14
National 6 4 21 9 3 3 12 1 23
IFP 0 0 3 41 0 0 0 0 0
Freedom Front 0 2 5 0 2 1 2 1 1
Democratic 1 0 5 2 0 0 1 0 3
PAC 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
ACDP 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1
MF 1
Total 56 30 86 81 30 30 30 40 42

Eastern Cape

African National Congress2,453,79084.3548
National Party286,0299.836
Democratic Party59,6442.051
Pan Africanist Congress59,4752.041
Freedom Front23,1670.800
African Christian Democratic Party14,9080.510
Inkatha Freedom Party5,0500.170
African Democratic Movement4,8150.170
Merit Party2,0280.070
Valid votes2,908,90699.55
Invalid/blank votes13,2480.45
Total votes2,922,154100.00
Source: Election Resources

Free State

African National Congress1,037,99876.6524
National Party170,45212.594
Freedom Front81,6626.032
Pan Africanist Congress24,4511.810
Dikwankwetla Party17,0241.260
Democratic Party7,6640.570
Inkatha Freedom Party6,9350.510
African Christian Democratic Party6,0720.450
African Democratic Movement2,0080.150
Valid votes1,354,26699.25
Invalid/blank votes10,2860.75
Total votes1,364,552100.00
Source: Election Resources


African National Congress2,418,25757.6050
National Party1,002,54023.8821
Freedom Front258,9356.175
Democratic Party223,5485.325
Inkatha Freedom Party153,5673.663
Pan Africanist Congress61,5121.471
African Christian Democratic Party25,5420.611
Federal Party16,2790.390
Africa Muslim Party12,8880.310
Women's Rights Peace Party7,2790.170
Luso-South African Party5,4230.130
Dikwankwetla Party4,8530.120
African Democratic Movement4,3520.100
Ximoko Progressive Party3,2750.080
Valid votes4,198,25099.40
Invalid/blank votes25,3830.60
Total votes4,223,633100.00
Source: Election Resources


Inkatha Freedom Party1,844,07050.3241
African National Congress1,181,11832.2326
National Party410,71011.219
Democratic Party78,9102.152
Minority Front48,9511.341
Pan Africanist Congress26,6010.731
African Christian Democratic Party24,6900.671
Freedom Front18,6250.510
Africa Muslim Party17,9310.490
African Democratic Movement8,0920.220
Workers International to Rebuild the Fourth International4,6260.130
Valid votes3,664,32498.94
Invalid/blank votes39,3691.06
Total votes3,703,693100.00
Source: Election Resources


African National Congress1,070,05280.6925
National Party119,3119.003
Freedom Front75,1205.662
Pan Africanist Congress21,6791.630
Inkatha Freedom Party20,1471.520
Democratic Party7,4370.560
African Christian Democratic Party6,3390.480
African Democratic Movement5,0620.380
Right Party9210.070
Valid votes1,326,06899.06
Invalid/blank votes12,6310.94
Total votes1,338,699100.00
Source: Election Resources


African National Congress1,310,08083.3326
National Party138,9868.843
Freedom Front72,8214.631
Pan Africanist Congress27,2741.730
Democratic Party7,8940.500
Inkatha Freedom Party5,9480.380
African Christian Democratic Party5,5700.350
African Democratic Movement3,5690.230
Valid votes1,572,14298.81
Invalid/blank votes18,9741.19
Total votes1,591,116100.00
Source: Election Resources

Northern Cape

African National Congress200,83949.7415
National Party163,45240.4812
Freedom Front24,1175.972
Democratic Party7,5671.871
Pan Africanist Congress3,7650.930
Inkatha Freedom Party1,6880.420
African Christian Democratic Party1,6100.400
African Democratic Movement7340.180
Valid votes403,77299.13
Invalid/blank votes3,5340.87
Total votes407,306100.00
Source: Election Resources


African National Congress1,759,59791.6338
National Party62,7453.271
Freedom Front41,1932.151
Pan Africanist Congress24,3601.270
United People's Front10,1230.530
African Christian Democratic Party7,3630.380
Ximoko Progressive Party4,9630.260
Democratic Party4,0210.210
African Democratic Movement3,6620.190
Inkatha Freedom Party2,2330.120
Valid votes1,920,26099.29
Invalid/blank votes13,7020.71
Total votes1,933,962100.00
Source: Election Resources

Western Cape

National Party1,138,24253.2523
African National Congress705,57633.0114
Democratic Party141,9706.643
Freedom Front44,0032.061
African Christian Democratic Party25,7311.201
Pan Africanist Congress22,6761.060
Africa Muslim Party20,9540.980
Islamic Party16,7620.780
Inkatha Freedom Party7,4450.350
Wes-Kaap Federaliste Party6,3370.300
South African Women's Party2,6410.120
Green Party2,6110.120
African Democratic Movement1,9390.090
Workers International to Rebuild the Fourth International8550.040
Valid votes2,137,74299.50
Invalid/blank votes10,7140.50
Total votes2,148,456100.00
Source: Election Resources



Following the elections, 27 April subsequently became a national public holiday, Freedom Day.[4]

In a Sunday Independent article on the 20th anniversary of the election, Steven Friedman, who headed the IEC's information analysis department during the election, stated that the lack of a voters roll made verifying the results of the election difficult, and there were widespread accusations of cheating.[2] Friedman characterised the election as a "technical disaster but a political triumph", and intimated that the final results were as a result of a negotiated compromise, rather than being an accurate count of the votes cast, stating that it was impossible to produce an accurate result under the circumstances that the election was held. He wrote that he believed that the result of the election, which gave KwaZulu-Natal to the IFP; gave the National Party 20% of the vote share, and a Deputy President position; and held the ANC back from the two-thirds majority with the ability to unilaterally write the final constitution, helped prevent a civil war.[2]


  1. ^ South Africa: Parliamentary Chamber: National Assembly: Elections held in 1994 Inter-Parliamentary Union
  2. ^ a b c d "The bargain that saved us in 1994". The Sunday Independent.
  3. ^ a b Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, Schedule 6: "Transitional Arrangements", item 7.
  4. ^ "S Africa marks democracy anniversary". aljazeera.com.