Coming Together - The impact of a coalition government on South Africa's political landscape

Mfanafuthi Nene
June 13, 2024
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South Africa is in an uncertain voting season.

Our national elections are expected to happen tomorrow, on May 29 2024. We have seen the polls. This year's election could be one for the history books,  as we may yet have an outright winner for the first time. 

It should be interesting to see. If our polls are anything to believe, consider the possibility of a coalition government.

Make sure you are informed before the election (Photo:

What is a coalition government?

Accordinga coalition government exists when two or more political parties (or independent representatives) combine their votes in a legislature or a council to elect a government and support its decisions. 

Coalitions become necessary when no single party has a majority of the seats in the legislature or council. 

In local government, a governing coalition aims to elect an (executive) mayor and other executive members.

What are the implications of a coalition government?

Political instability

The government's negotiations have always been tough on nations politically and socially. Often, we have seen political leaders fail to put their differences aside.

At the local government level, we have seen the pace at which the mayoral candidates have been removed on the vote of confidence.

This instability has affected the community's service delivery in areas such as waste collection, water, and sanitation.

Political instability at the national level could be a significant threat, as the government is responsible for ensuring that the environment in South Africa is conducive to attracting potential investors.

(Photo: Taryn Elliot)

Accountability to the senior government officials

As a country, we have witnessed how the ruling party has also prevented some accountability measures against its leaders by using the majority to suppress further investigations.

We witnessed this during the Nkandla matter and the Phalapha issue.

In both instances, we noted that the ruling party used its majority to overhaul further parliamentary oversight on these issues.

As noted in the Constitutional Court in a matter between the Economic Freedom Fighters and others and the Speaker of the National Assembly, the court ruled that the national assembly has failed to hold the executive accountable.

After May 29, the executives could be held more accountable. Moreover, applying the rule of law can bring order.

Corruption and irregular expenditure have significantly affected economic growth and other government interventions to fight inequality.
(Photo: Ojas Narappanawar)

Policy uncertainty

We expect the different political parties to have policies they seek to promote for their constituencies.

This will have a direct impact on investors and job creation. 

With an uncertain political future, markets are expected to react to the possible policy uncertainty on the eve of elections. 

It is not yet clear who our government will be or what policies it will promote. 

Considering the political parties and their manifestos, we can safely conclude that forming a government post-election will require some compromises on all possible coalition partners.

This being said, I implore all South African citizens to show up in their numbers and vote for the government of their choice.