Well, vote counting is over and the data capturing is underway. Final election results will be announced this weekend. But at this point it seems that the ANC has received the two-thirds majority it sought to conclusively consolidate its position as the democratically elected leader of South Africa. As provisional figures currently stand, the ANC has an overwhelming 67.04 % of the vote.
There was never any question that the ANC would win this election, but there was, for the first time since 1994, some question about the percentage by which it would win. And there was some hope in certain quarters (i.e. from all the opposition parties and their supporters who deplore the greed and corruption within the ANC leadership, the loss of a moral compass, the dropped charges against Jacob Zuma, the controversial, provocative and offensive remarks from him and his cronies, the lack of action on far too many critical issues etc etc), that the ANC would not get a two thirds majority and so the way for real and positive change in South Africa could be paved.
I should add that the question of the two thirds majority is something of a moot point; while in some ways it is merely symbolic of definitive victory it also raises the spectre of power abuse - particularly given some of Jacob Zuma's recent remarks, for example, about amending the Constitution. Remarks, I might add, which change more frequently than the autumnal weather.
And this is the problem with JZ, as he is known; he speaks to his audiences in completely contradictory ways. (One might be led to think that he's merely a puppet with someone else pulling his strings...) So what he might say to a gathering in Soweto is entirely different to what he says to a gathering in Oranje. What he says to the business community and international investors is directly contrary to what he says to the people of the Amatole region in the rural Eastern Cape. And therein lies the bother - no one knows what he's going to do and which group will have the greatest effect on him. And until such time as he appoints his cabinet, we have no idea if it will be business as usual - i.e. more do nothing and more corruption - or if it will result in a radical change in economic policies that will seek to uplift the poor but which may well send international investors - and still more South Africans - running for the hills of other countries.
But this is democracy at work. This is how the people have South Africa have chosen. And one has to hope that they have chosen right - though of course what may be right for one person may not be so for the next.
But the reality is that there remains an awful lot of work to be done in South Africa, as my previous post indicated. There are still millions who live in poverty, healthcare and education are far from what they should be, housing development has lagged badly, the refugee situation, along with crime and violence, is out of control and the unemployment rate is at 40%. And in the current economic climate all this is going to be tough, if not impossible, to turn around.
At present hope runs high amongst those who voted for the ANC. But it begs the question of what happens if that hope is once more dashed. And there remains, of course, the big question of just what the ANC will do, what policies it will implement despite the multiple and often contradictory promises it has made.
So now we wait.