COSATU statement on the successful holding of our 7th democratic national and provincial elections

The Congress of South African Trade Unions congratulates all South Africans who contributed to the successful holding of our 7th democratic elections.  We applaud the tireless efforts of the staff of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), the South African Police Service (SAPS), the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), Home Affairs, the media fraternity and countless other workers who ensured South African maintained its internationally renowned reputation for holding free and fair elections.  The nation is indebted for your service.

COSATU is humbled by the faith millions of voters have once again placed in our dear ally, the African National Congress (ANC), which whilst not achieving an outright majority has emerged as the largest party nationally, with an outright majority in 6 provinces, as the leading party in the Northern Cape, and as the second and third largest parties in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. 

Whilst we campaigned for an outright majority for the ANC and hoped to avoid the instability that often accompanies coalition governments, we accept the results as the true reflection of the will of the people.  The fact that the ANC has once again emerged as the largest political party across the nation and has been given a clear mandate to form government, is a testimony to its historical and leadership role in society.  It is confirmation that ordinary South Africans have entrusted it to continue upon its transformation mandate and to deliver a better for all, in particular for working-class communities. 

COSATU congratulates the ANC and the South African Communist Party (SACP) as well as our Affiliates on a well-run campaign that overcame great odds.  We thank millions of workers, shop stewards and organisers who tirelessly crisscrossed the nation mobilising millions of workers to turn out in their numbers in support of the ANC.  We are grateful for their efforts and humbled by the confidence of workers and their families.

We reject with contempt the nonsensical attacks on the IEC and the legitimacy of the elections by some desperate politicians.  It is clear to all sober persons that the elections were free and fair.  COSATU joins millions of ordinary South Africans in defence of our hard-won constitutional democracy.  We will not allow anyone to threaten it.

Any threats to sow violence and instigate criminal activities must be dealt with decisively and with the full force of the law by the SAPS, SANDF and State Security Agency.  No space must be given to any political vandals who seek to plunge the nation into violence or anarchy.  We will not allow a repeat of the July 2021 criminal violence.  Law enforcement must be vigilant and ruthless.

Those who have grievances with the running of various voting stations have legal channels to pursue these.  Equally the IEC must reflect on stations which experienced challenges with long queues, offline scanners etc. and do better in future.  Consideration must be given to extending voting times in future and mobilising more voters to vote during the special voting days to ease the pressures on election day.

COSATU will be tabling a petition to the incoming Administration and Parliament to declare future election days as non-trading public holidays where only essential workplaces may open to ensure all workers are afforded their constitutional right to vote.  We cannot condone the continued violation of thousands of workers’ right to vote by delinquent employers. 

We must be concerned as a nation by declining voter turnout levels, in particular amongst the youth.  Equally we should be worried by the number of political parties mobilising on the basis of racial, ethnic and religious identity.  We ignore these perils at the risk of the nation’s stability.  Africa is littered with the consequences of politicians who dabbled in ethnic mobilisation leaving thousands in body bags. 

Now that the elections have concluded, COSATU will be engaging with our Affiliates, as well as our allies, the ANC and the SACP on their principles that must guide the formation of the 7th administration.  The incoming government’s mandate must be anchored upon the ANC’s elections manifesto, the defence of our constitutional democracy and the rule of law, respecting the labour rights of workers and providing relief to the poor, growing the economy and creating jobs, tackling crime and corruption, building a capacitated developmental state, overcoming our legacies of poverty and inequality.  These principles are sacrosanct and cannot be compromised.

We are confident that we will comply with the constitutional timeframes for the election and inauguration of the President and the appointment of the 7th administration.  We do not doubt that the incoming government will be led by the President of the African National Congress, Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa.

The results provide a sobering reminder for the ANC and the Alliance to continue on the path of renewal, of cleansing the nation of the cancer of corruption, of slashing unemployment and improving the lives of ordinary South Africans.  We dare not ignore the drop-in support for the ANC at the ballot box and the message voters have sent to the ANC.  They want and correctly expect us to do better.  We must not fail them.

COSATU looks forward to working with the incoming 7th administration led by President Ramaphosa and the ANC to deliver that better life for all that South Africa deserves.  We will continue to work with Members of Parliament to hold the executive accountable and ensure the state fulfils its electoral mandate.

Issued by COSATU.

For further comment please contact:

Matthew Parks

Acting National Spokesperson & Parliamentary Coordinator

Cell: 082 785 0687


Cape Town, South Africa