Molefe Seeletsa

By Molefe Seeletsa

Digital Journalist


Elections 2024: Who will be president if you vote for these parties?

The first sitting of the National Assembly has to elect a president once results are announced.


‘Why can’t I elect my own president’ is a question some South African citizens ask themselves when voting in the national and provincial elections.

On 29 May, eligible voters their votes in South Africa’s seventh election since 1994.

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The polls will determine which political parties will represent their voters in Parliament and the provincial legislatures.

This year’s elections, which coincide with the 30th anniversary of the country’s democracy, are expected to be fiercely contested.

An outcome of a coalition government has been predicted, with the African National Congress (ANC) projected to be less than 50% of votes.

The Citizen takes a look at who could be South Africa’s president post-voting day:

How president gets elected

South Africa has a proportional system (PR) for national and provincial elections, which means voters can’t directly elect the president of their choice.

The task falls on Parliament, which needs to ensure there is a government “by the people” under the Constitution.

To do so, Parliament must choose a president, pass legislation and perform oversight on the executive.

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In terms of the law, the National Assembly as well as the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) must be established within 14 days of the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) declaring the results of the election.

The first sitting of the National Assembly has to elect a president.

The president ceases to be a member of Parliament (MP) once elected and must take up office within five days of being elected.

President from Multi-Party Charter?

As per the IEC’s official national candidate list, South Africa could get a president from one of 31 political parties or six independent candidates contesting for seats in the National Assembly.

ActionSA leader, Herman Mashaba is the number one candidate for Parliament on his party’s list.

The chances of Mashaba becoming are not far-fetched considering that ActionSA is already part of the Multi-Party Charter coalition.

The Multi-Party Charter was established when 11 parties signed a pre-election coalition agreement to challenge the three-decade rule of the ANC.

Alongside ActionSA, the coalition consists of the Democratic Alliance (DA), Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Freedom Front Plus (FF+) and the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), among other parties.

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It was agreed by the parties that the leader of the largest party, likely to be the DA, in the bloc would not automatically become president should the Multi-Party Charter obtain a majority in the elections.

DA leader John Steenhuisen also sat on the top of his party’s candidate list, but as mentioned above he will not immediately occupy the president’s office his party gets the majority of votes or members of the Multi-Party Charter decide to elect him as their presidential candidate.

Steenhuisen could, however, be elected as leader of government business in Parliament.

The party that gets the most votes within the coalition will automatically take charge of this position.

In the current government, the leader of government business is the deputy president of the country.

Again given the parties’ decision, ACDP president Kenneth Meshoe, IFP leader Velenkosini Hlabisa, and FF+ Pieter Groenewald could be picked as the charter’s presidential candidate.

Who else could become president?

Elsewhere, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema and African Transformation Movement (ATM) president Vuyo Zungula are both poised to have a presidential tenure.

Build One South Africa (Bosa) leader Mmusi Maimane, Rise Mzansi leader, Songezo Zibi and Patriotic Alliance (PA) leader Gayton McKenzie, Bantu Holomisa of United Democratic Movement (UDM), Xiluva’s Bongani Baloyi, GOOD’s Patricia de Lille and African Congress for Transformation (ACT) leader Ace Magashule have also topped their parties’ national candidate list.

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uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party leader, Jacob Zuma could go to the National Assembly and return to the president’s office.

That’s if his party emerges victorious in a Constitutional Court (ConCourt) legal battle with the IEC over his candidacy.

Lastly, incumbent Cyril Ramaphosa is the most likely person to have a seat within the presidency considering that although the ANC’s support is expected to drop, the party may receive a large percentage of votes.

The ANC could be forced into a coalition at national level for the first after 30 years of being in power.

See the IEC’s full national candidate list here:

National Candidates List by Molefe Seeletsa on Scribd