Ivor Chipkin Discusses Coalition Politics in 2024 Elections with The South African Jewish Report


On May 19, 2024, Ivor Chipkin, Executive Director and Co-founder of the New South Institute, participated in a significant online webinar hosted by The South African Jewish Report. This event, part of their elections webinar series, aimed to shed light on the complex dynamics of the 2024 South African national elections. The discussion featured prominent speakers, including Wayne Sussman, an ENCA election analyst, and Queenin Masuabi, a political journalist with Daily Maverick.

Chipkin, an esteemed author of “Shadow State: The Politics of State Capture,” provided in-depth analysis on coalition politics, a critical topic given the anticipated competitiveness of the upcoming elections. His insights focused on several key areas:

The Likelihood of an ANC Coalition: Chipkin discussed the realistic prospects of the African National Congress (ANC) forming a coalition, particularly if they fail to secure a majority. He highlighted the potential partnerships with smaller parties and the strategic considerations that might drive these alliances. Chipkin noted that the ANC has historically preferred forming coalitions with smaller parties, which are less demanding in terms of power-sharing.

Challenges of an ANC/EFF Alliance: He explored the complexities of a potential ANC/Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) coalition. While such an alliance could provide the necessary majority, Chipkin pointed out the significant ideological and policy differences between the two parties. He emphasized that the unpredictable nature of the EFF, led by Julius Malema, could pose substantial risks for the ANC in maintaining a stable government.

Impact of uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK): Chipkin also touched upon the rise of uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) and its potential impact on the electoral landscape. He explained how MK’s resurgence could disrupt traditional voting patterns and influence the strategies of established parties like the ANC and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP).

Pragmatism in Coalition Formation: A key theme in Chipkin’s analysis was the emerging pragmatism in South African politics. He noted that political parties are increasingly recognizing the importance of effective governance and institutional performance. This shift towards pragmatism, he argued, could influence coalition negotiations, with parties prioritizing stability and competence over ideological alignment.

Scenarios for Election Outcomes: Chipkin provided various scenarios for the election outcomes, stressing the importance of coalition politics in shaping the future government. He suggested that if the ANC were to achieve a result in the mid-40s percentile, it would likely need to form alliances with smaller parties or the EFF to secure a majority. However, he warned that such coalitions could lead to internal conflicts within the ANC, particularly if there were significant power-sharing demands from coalition partners.

Chipkin’s insights underscored the complexity of the upcoming elections and the critical role of coalition politics in determining South Africa’s political future. His detailed analysis offered valuable perspectives on the strategic considerations facing key political players. For more details and to watch the full discussion, please visit The South African Jewish Report’s YouTube channel.

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