2009 South African general election

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

2009 South African general election

← 2004 22 April 2009 2014 →

All 400 seats in the National Assembly of South Africa
Turnout77.30% Increase
  First party Second party Third party
  Jacob Zuma, 2009 World Economic Forum on Africa-4.jpg FIFA welcome with the Premier (cropped).jpg Defense.gov News Photo 991207-D-9880W-182 (cropped).jpg
Leader Jacob Zuma Helen Zille Mosiuoa Lekota
Party ANC Democratic Alliance COPE
Leader's seat National List n/a National List
Last election 69.69%, 279 seats 12.37%, 50 seats
Seats won 264 67 30
Seat change Decrease 15 Increase 17 New
Popular vote 11,650,748 2,945,829 1,311,027
Percentage 65.90% 16.66% 7.42%
Swing Decrease 3.79% Increase 4.29% new

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
  Mangosuthu Buthelezi (1983).jpg Patricia de Lille DA Election-Launch 2011.jpg
Bantu Holomisa.png
Leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi Patricia de Lille Bantu Holomisa
Leader's seat National List National List National List
Last election 6.97%, 28 seats 1.73%, 7 seats 2.28%, 9 seats
Seats won 18 4 4
Seat change Decrease 10 Decrease 3 Decrease 5
Popular vote 804,260 162,915 149,680
Percentage 4.55% 0.92% 0.85%
Swing Decrease 2.42% Decrease 0.81% Decrease 1.43%

South Africa national election 2009 winner by VD.svg
Voting districts won by each party. Green: African National Congress; Blue: Democratic Alliance; Yellow: Congress of the People; Red: Inkatha Freedom Party; Orange: Independent Democrats; Purple: United Democratic Movement; Brown: other parties; Grey: tied between two or more parties.

President before election

Kgalema Motlanthe

Elected President

Jacob Zuma

Election ballot.

General elections were held in South Africa on 22 April 2009 to elect members of the National Assembly and provincial legislatures.[1] These were the fourth general elections held since the end of the apartheid era.

The North Gauteng High Court ruled on 9 February 2009 that South African citizens living abroad should be allowed to vote in elections.[2] The judgment was confirmed by the Constitutional Court on 12 March 2009, when it decided that overseas voters who were already registered would be allowed to vote.[3] Registered voters who found themselves outside their registered voting districts on election day were also permitted to vote for the national ballot at any voting station in South Africa.

The result was a victory for the ruling African National Congress (ANC), which won 264 of the 400 seats in the National Assembly, a fifteen seat reduction compared to the 2004 elections and losing its two-thirds supermajority. ANC leader Jacob Zuma remained president.

Background and campaign[edit]

African National Congress – ruling party[edit]

The African National Congress was the ruling party in parliament going into the 2009 elections, having won 69.69% of the vote at the 2004 elections. During its term in office a number of internal changes occurred, the primary one being the election of Jacob Zuma to the party presidency ahead of Thabo Mbeki at the 52nd National Conference of the African National Congress held on 18 December 2007.[4] Zuma's victory in the election was partly due to the wide degree of support for him from the ANC Youth League, the South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions.[citation needed]

Subsequent to this, in 2008 Zuma's ongoing corruption trial in relation to a multi-billion Rand arms deal was dismissed by the courts, which insinuated that Mbeki had unduly influenced the investigation into Zuma. In light of the court's findings, the ANC's National Executive Committee asked Mbeki to resign as president of the country, which he duly did on 20 September 2008.

Mbeki was replaced by Kgalema Motlanthe, who had been elected as ANC deputy president at the 2007 conference. Motlanthe was not the presidential candidate of the ANC for the 2009 general election, but rather the current President of the ANC, Jacob Zuma.[5] The ANC's electoral list was led by Zuma, followed by Motlanthe, Deputy President of South Africa Baleka Mbete, finance minister Trevor Manuel and Winnie Mandela, former wife of Nelson Mandela.[6]

The recall of Mbeki, amongst other issues, created severe tensions and splits within the party, and eventually led to the formation of the Congress of the People, a new political party formed by former ANC members. Nevertheless, most pre-poll predictions gave the ANC between sixty and seventy per cent of the popular vote; even the lowest prediction, giving the ANC 47 per cent, still rendered it comfortably South Africa's most favoured political party.[7]

Democratic Alliance – official opposition[edit]

The Democratic Alliance, South Africa's main opposition party, had undergone a leadership change, with Cape Town mayor and former anti-apartheid activist Helen Zille having succeeded long-serving Tony Leon in May 2007.

With a disproportionate focus on the Western Cape province, which it had identified as winnable, the DA launched its election campaign with the slogan "Vote to Win". It released its manifesto on 14 February.[8]

The party was expected to perform strongly in the Western Cape, with analysts suggesting it would take control of the province from the ruling ANC.[9] The ANC's support in the province was on the wane, while the DA had performed well in by-elections in the province leading up to the poll.[10]

The party projected that it would govern in the Western Cape province – a task made easier by the ANC-COPE split – though it expected to need to form a governing coalition in order to do so.[11] The party anticipated that it would take control of several other major cities and towns in the 2011 local elections, and, with what it termed a "realignment of SA politics", predicted it would take its "winning streak" into the 2014 elections, when it plans to challenge for the mantle of ruling party.[12]

The DA's relationship with ANC breakaway party Cope started strongly. Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota showed a willingness to co-operate with Zille in the future.[13][14] Subsequently, Zille criticised COPE's internal structures and suggested many of the party's new members were merely Mbeki loyalists hoping to resurrect defunct political careers.[15]

In the closing stages of the DA's campaign, it launched its "Stop Zuma" drive, which came under considerable criticism in the press—political analysts dubbing the tactic an example of "negative" politics. Zille later retorted, however, that what was really negative was the idea of handing over the right to change the Constitution unilaterally to Jacob Zuma and his "closed, crony network", as they would abuse that right both to enrich themselves and to protect themselves from prosecution. She later claimed the decline in the ANC's support base and the concomitant increase in that of her own party was a result of the DA 'Stop Zuma' campaign.

Electoral system[edit]

The 400 members of the National Assembly were elected by closed list proportional representation; two hundred members were elected from national party lists and 200 from provincial party lists in each of the nine provinces. The President of South Africa was chosen by the National Assembly after the election; in 2009, the presidential election was held on 6 May. The premiers of each province are chosen by the winning majority in each provincial legislature.


A number of communities, organisations, social movements and well-known personalities threatened not to vote in the 2009 elections.[16] The most well-known personality was Archbishop Desmond Tutu who at first said he would not vote but then changed his mind.[17] South Africa's Poor People's Alliance, the Anti-Privatisation Forum, NOPE, and the independent farmworkers' union Sikhula Sonke resolved to boycott the election under the banner No Land! No House! No Vote!.[18]


Most popular party in each ward, depicted as a map (top), and as a cartogram in which size is proportional to the number of votes cast (bottom).

     African National Congress
     Democratic Alliance
     Congress of the People
     Inkatha Freedom Party
     Independent Democrats
     United Democratic Movement

The darker shade indicates a majority, while the lighter shade indicates a non-majority plurality.
Map showing, for each municipality, the percentage point change in the ANC's share of the vote since the 2004 election
  37.5–50 pp to the ANC
  25–37.5 pp to the ANC
  12.5–25 pp to the ANC
  0–12.5 pp to the ANC
  0–12.5 pp away from the ANC
  12.5–25 pp away from the ANC
  25–37.5 pp away from the ANC
  37.5–50 pp away from the ANC

The ANC, which has been in power since 1994, obtained 65.90% of valid votes cast on the national ballot, making it just shy of being able to change the constitution. The DA retained its position as the official opposition and also won the election in the Western Cape province with an outright majority.

Some 23-million people were registered for the 2009 general elections, which was about 2.5 million more than in 2004. There was a 77.3% turnout of registered voters, 1.34% of whom spoiled their ballots rendering them invalid.[19] About 12-million people eligible to vote either did not register to vote (about 7-million), or did register but did not vote (5.4 million).[20] In this election, there was a slight decrease in voter abstention though there was at least one high-profile election and registration boycotts campaign, the No Land! No House! No Vote! Campaign.

The Independent Electoral Commission made results available on their website as they were received from voting districts, filtered by national, provincial, municipality, and voting district.[21]

National Assembly[edit]

African National Congress11,650,74865.90264−15
Democratic Alliance2,945,82916.6667+17
Congress of the People1,311,0277.4230New
Inkatha Freedom Party804,2604.5518−10
Independent Democrats162,9150.924−3
United Democratic Movement149,6800.854−5
Freedom Front Plus146,7960.8340
African Christian Democratic Party142,6580.813−4
United Christian Democratic Party66,0860.372−1
Pan Africanist Congress48,5300.271−2
Minority Front43,4740.251−1
Azanian People's Organisation38,2450.2210
African People's Convention35,8670.201New
Movement Democratic Party29,7470.170New
Al Jama-ah25,9470.150New
Christian Democratic Alliance11,6380.0700
National Democratic Convention10,8300.060New
New Vision Party9,2960.050New
United Independent Front8,8720.050New
Great Kongress of South Africa8,2710.050New
South African Democratic Congress6,0350.030New
Keep It Straight and Simple Party5,4400.0300
Pan Africanist Movement5,4260.030New
Alliance of Free Democrats5,1780.030New
Women Forward5,0870.030New
A Party2,8470.020New
Valid votes17,680,72998.66
Invalid/blank votes239,2371.34
Total votes17,919,966100.00
Registered voters/turnout23,181,99777.30
Source: Election Resources

Provincial legislatures[edit]

The following table summarises the results of the elections to the provincial legislatures. The majority party in each province is indicated in bold.

African National Congress 44 22 47 51 43 27 25 19 14
Democratic Alliance 6 3 16 7 2 2 3 4 22
Congress of the People 9 4 6 1 4 1 3 5 3
Inkatha Freedom Party 1 18
Independent Democrats 1 2 2
African Christian Democratic Party 1 1 1
United Democratic Movement 3
Freedom Front Plus 1 1
Minority Front 2
United Christian Democratic Party 2
African Independent Congress 1
Total 63 30 73 80 49 30 33 30 42

Eastern Cape[edit]

African National Congress1,552,67668.8244−7
Congress of the People308,43913.679New
Democratic Alliance225,3109.996+1
United Democratic Movement93,1964.133−3
African Independent Congress17,3060.771New
Pan Africanist Congress12,1080.540−1
African Christian Democratic Party11,9740.5300
Independent Democrats10,4660.4600
Azanian People's Organisation4,5980.2000
African People's Convention4,5170.200New
Freedom Front Plus4,4280.2000
Inkatha Freedom Party2,2700.1000
National Democratic Convention2,0270.090New
Pan Africanist Movement1,9210.090New
United Christian Democratic Party1,9080.0800
Christian Democratic Alliance1,6630.070New
New Vision Party1,2810.060New
Valid votes2,256,08898.59
Invalid/blank votes32,2991.41
Total votes2,288,387100.00
Registered voters/turnout3,056,55974.87
Source: Election Resources

Free State[edit]

African National Congress734,68871.1022−3
Congress of the People120,01811.614New
Democratic Alliance119,84411.6030
Freedom Front Plus20,7802.0110
Dikwankwetla Party11,2571.0900
African Christian Democratic Party7,5560.730−1
United Democratic Movement3,7220.3600
United Christian Democratic Party3,4590.3300
Pan Africanist Congress3,4490.3300
African People's Convention3,2000.310New
Inkatha Freedom Party2,2320.2200
Independent Democrats1,6540.1600
National Democratic Convention1,0650.100New
Peace and Justice Congress3980.040New
Valid votes1,033,32298.50
Invalid/blank votes15,7441.50
Total votes1,049,066100.00
Registered voters/turnout1,388,58875.55
Source: Election Resources


African National Congress2,662,01364.0447−4
Democratic Alliance908,61621.8616+1
Congress of the People323,3277.786New
Freedom Front Plus67,6601.6310
Inkatha Freedom Party61,8561.491−1
African Christian Democratic Party36,0990.8710
Independent Democrats25,2430.6110
United Democratic Movement16,4800.400−1
Pan Africanist Congress12,8800.310−1
United Christian Democratic Party10,0910.2400
Azanian People's Organisation8,9270.2100
Movement Democratic Party5,7310.140New
African People's Convention5,1230.120New
Christian Democratic Alliance2,9010.0700
African Christian Alliance2,5410.060New
Women Forward1,9740.050New
Great Kongress of South Africa1,9090.050New
National Democratic Convention1,4970.040New
Alliance of Free Democrats1,1010.030New
New Vision Party1,0790.030New
Valid votes4,157,04898.98
Invalid/blank votes42,8151.02
Total votes4,199,863100.00
Registered voters/turnout5,555,15975.60
Source: Election Resources


African National Congress2,192,51662.9551+13
Inkatha Freedom Party780,02722.4018−12
Democratic Alliance318,5599.1570
Minority Front71,5072.0520
Congress of the People44,8901.291New
African Christian Democratic Party23,5370.681−1
United Democratic Movement7,9530.230−1
Al Jama-ah7,6120.220New
National Democratic Convention6,8810.200New
Independent Democrats6,8530.2000
Freedom Front Plus5,7600.1700
African People's Convention5,0870.150New
South African Democratic Congress3,8830.110New
Pan Africanist Congress2,5780.0700
Women Forward1,8160.050New
United Christian Democratic Party1,7980.0500
Great Kongress of South Africa1,7300.050New
Valid votes3,482,98798.76
Invalid/blank votes43,7131.24
Total votes3,526,700100.00
Registered voters/turnout4,475,21778.81
Source: Election Resources


African National Congress1,265,63184.8843−2
Congress of the People112,3257.534New
Democratic Alliance51,8563.4820
African Christian Democratic Party10,2460.690−1
Freedom Front Plus9,0350.6100
Pan Africanist Congress7,9340.5300
New Vision Party6,4970.440New
Azanian People's Organisation5,6400.3800
United Democratic Movement5,1930.350−1
African People's Convention4,4550.300New
Ximoko Party3,4520.2300
United Independent Front1,7690.120New
Black Consciousness Party1,4320.100New
Independent Democrats1,3330.0900
United Christian Democratic Party1,3200.0900
Alliance of Free Democrats1,0410.070New
Women Forward9770.070New
Inkatha Freedom Party9360.060New
Valid votes1,491,07298.51
Invalid/blank votes22,5491.49
Total votes1,513,621100.00
Registered voters/turnout2,256,07367.09
Source: Election Resources


African National Congress1,110,19085.55270
Democratic Alliance97,2047.4920
Congress of the People37,7892.911New
Freedom Front Plus11,5900.890−1
African Christian Democratic Party6,5650.5100
Inkatha Freedom Party6,5400.5000
Sindawonye Progressive Party6,4230.4900
African People's Convention4,8340.370New
Pan Africanist Congress4,0970.3200
United Democratic Movement3,3660.2600
Azanian People's Organisation2,9280.2300
Christian Party2,4350.190New
Independent Democrats1,5270.1200
National Democratic Convention1,3740.110New
United Christian Democratic Party9130.0700
Valid votes1,297,77598.55
Invalid/blank votes19,1191.45
Total votes1,316,894100.00
Registered voters/turnout1,696,70577.61
Source: Election Resources

North West[edit]

African National Congress783,79472.8925−2
Congress of the People89,5738.333New
Democratic Alliance88,7288.253+1
United Christian Democratic Party56,6785.272−1
Freedom Front Plus19,4631.810−1
African Christian Democratic Party7,3660.6900
United Democratic Movement5,4670.5100
Independent Democrats4,9840.4600
Movement Democratic Party4,4320.410New
African People's Convention3,1160.290New
Pan Africanist Congress2,8310.2600
Azanian People's Organisation2,7120.2500
South African Political Party1,8320.170New
African Christian Alliance1,7500.160New
Inkatha Freedom Party1,6190.1500
National Democratic Convention9780.090New
Valid votes1,075,32398.08
Invalid/blank votes21,0071.92
Total votes1,096,330100.00
Registered voters/turnout1,564,35770.08
Source: Election Resources

Northern Cape[edit]

African National Congress245,69960.7519−2
Congress of the People67,41616.675New
Democratic Alliance50,81712.574+1
Independent Democrats19,9954.9420
Freedom Front Plus5,0341.240−1
United Christian Democratic Party4,8891.2100
African Christian Democratic Party4,0411.000−1
Azanian People's Organisation2,4390.6000
African People's Convention1,3640.340New
Pan Africanist Congress8820.2200
Inkatha Freedom Party7570.1900
United Democratic Movement6040.1500
Christian Democratic Alliance4810.120New
Valid votes404,41898.49
Invalid/blank votes6,1901.51
Total votes410,608100.00
Registered voters/turnout554,90074.00
Source: Election Resources

Western Cape[edit]

Democratic Alliance1,012,56851.4622+10
African National Congress620,91831.5514−5
Congress of the People152,3567.743New
Independent Democrats92,1164.682−1
African Christian Democratic Party28,9951.471−1
United Democratic Movement14,0130.710−1
Al Jama-ah9,0390.460New
Freedom Front Plus8,3840.4300
Pan Africanist Congress4,4670.2300
Africa Muslim Party4,3330.2200
Christian Democratic Alliance3,9870.2000
National Party South Africa3,3780.170New
Cape Party2,5520.130New
National Alliance1,9960.100New
African People's Convention1,7780.090New
United Christian Democratic Party1,5520.0800
Azanian People's Organisation1,2910.0700
United Independent Front1,1780.060New
Inkatha Freedom Party1,1580.0600
Peace and Justice Congress6300.0300
Universal Party5990.0300
National Democratic Convention4630.020New
Valid votes1,967,75198.99
Invalid/blank votes20,0261.01
Total votes1,987,777100.00
Registered voters/turnout2,634,43975.45
Source: Election Resources

NCOP seats[edit]

The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) consists of 90 members, ten elected by each provincial legislature. The Members of NCOP have to be elected in proportion to the party membership of the provincial legislature.

Party Delegate type Province Total
African National Congress Permanent 4 4 4 4 5 5 4 3 2 35 62
Special 3 3 3 3 4 4 3 3 1 27
Democratic Alliance Permanent 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 3 10 13
Special 1 2 3
Congress of the People Permanent 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 7 8
Special 1 1
Independent Democrats Permanent 1 1 2
Special 1 1
Inkatha Freedom Party Permanent 1 1 2
Special 1 1
Freedom Front Plus Special 1 1
United Christian Democratic Party Special 1 1
United Democratic Movement Special 1 1
Total 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 90


The ANC received widespread congratulations for its decisive national victory, both from international and domestic sources. This included the opposition, with DA leader Helen Zille acknowledging that the people had given it a strong mandate to rule. "We trust that the ANC will not abuse this confidence, and will govern well and in the interests of all South Africans."[22] However, with 65.9% of the vote and 264 seats in the National Assembly (down from 74.3% and 297 seats), the ANC no longer had the two-thirds majority it needed to change the Constitution unilaterally. The governing party had lost considerable support in 8 of the 9 provinces, partially compensated for by a big increase in KwaZulu-Natal at the expense of the IFP.

Thanking supporters the following week,[23] DA leader Helen Zille related proudly that her party had achieved all three of its primary objectives: it had kept the ANC below a two-thirds majority (albeit only just), won an outright majority in the Western Cape and significantly improved its standing in parliament.[24] Zille saw the results as a vindication of the party's statement at the beginning of its campaign that the only two genuine political forces in South Africa were the DA and the ANC, with the latter losing support while the former consistently gained it, and voters refusing to waste their ballots on small, insignificant parties.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Motlanthe sets election date IOL.co.za, 10 February 2009
  2. ^ "Court backs S Africa expat vote". BBC News. 9 February 2009. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
  3. ^ South African registered overseas voters can vote - People's Daily Online
  4. ^ (Press Statement: Results for the Election of ANC Officials, 19 December 2007) Archived 29 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ http://www.anc.org.za/show.php?doc=./ancdocs/pr/2008/pr0108.html Archived 24 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine (Statement of the ANC National Executive Committee, 8 January 2008.) The ANC National Executive Committee confirmed that "the ANC President will lead the ANC election campaign as the organisation's candidate for president of South Africa in the 2009 election."
  6. ^ Winnie set for shock comeback to ANC politics
  7. ^ Perry, Alex. "South African Election: Why It Matters." TIME. 21 April 2009. . Retrieved 21 April 2009.
  8. ^ "DA election launch in Soweto". News24. 15 January 2009.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "Minorities become important as polls loom". IOL. 7 September 2008. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  10. ^ "DA: Helen Zille, leader of the Democratic Alliance, on the party's victory in the Western Cape by-elections". Archived from the original on 4 June 2009.
  11. ^ "DA sets its sights on governing Western Cape". SABC. 12 November 2008. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  12. ^ "DA plans to rule SA from 2014". IOL. 11 November 2008.
  13. ^ "Lekota open to DA Alliance". IOL. 19 November 2008.
  14. ^ "Zille backs Lekota's views". IOL. 19 November 2008.[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ "Zille slams COPE as a ploy to resurrect political careers". 10 January 2009.[permanent dead link]
  16. ^
  17. ^ *"Tutu: Why I Won't Vote". TheTimes. Archived from the original on 8 October 2008. Retrieved 24 April 2009.
  18. ^ *"Elections: A Dangerous Time for Poor People's Movements in South Africa". SACSIS. Archived from the original on 28 April 2011. Retrieved 21 April 2009.
  19. ^ "IEC Election Report 2009". IEC. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  20. ^ "Building a base for a credible opposition". SundayTribune. 3 May 2009.
  21. ^ Independent Electoral Commission
  22. ^ https://www.da.org.za/archive/sa-today-thank-you-for-voting-for-change/
  23. ^ "We fulfilled our key objectives - Helen Zille - NEWS & ANALYSIS | Politicsweb". www.politicsweb.co.za. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  24. ^ "We fulfilled our key objectives - Helen Zille - NEWS & ANALYSIS | Politicsweb".