Journal of African Elections Special Issue South Africa’s 2014 Elections

Susan Booysen looks at the ANC’s impact and the various challenges it confronted and focuses on how the spread of the organisation’s electoral support is changing as a result. Sithembele Mbethe ascribes the ANC’s continued decline against the formation of the Economic Freedom Fighters. She argues that the EFF’s relatively impressive performance shows the resonance of populism and that the party itself has reconfigured parliamentary democracy. However, Ivor Sarakinsky and Ebrahim Fakir warn that, splinter parties have not been successful, historically, although the EFF, as a breakaway to the left, may prove more resilient than the more-or-less centrist Cope. Mashupye Maserumule, Ricky Mukonza, Nyawo Gumede and Livhuwani Ndou explain the party’s dismal performance. They attribute the difference in how the two debutants performed to political experience, campaigning and the constituencies each party targeted. Shauna Mottiar singles out the DA as the best-performing opposition party. She explains the party’s stunning rise, but also warns that it may battle to grow beyond its current support base because of its failure to deal sufficiently with the racial question. Cherrel Africa believes racial stereotypes continue to play a prominent role in the DA’s conduct, especially in the Western Cape, where it is the largest party. According to Africa, therefore, the DA’s attempts to reach out to other racial groups lack substance. Sarah Chiumbu and Antonio Ciaglia pay particular attention to the way the SABC covered the election campaign and the manner in which the regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa, dealt with the complaints that came before it. They suggest that the appropriate legislation should be reviewed to ensure that it promotes an open and fair competitive election environment. Still on the public institutions, Mcebisi Ndletyana draws attention to the way the IEC managed the elections, focusing particularly on the impact of the Pansy Tlakula saga on the commission and its implications for South African institutions and democracy in general.