THE RAND gained for a third day as the ANC appeared to be heading to a convincing win in the national elections, potentially strengthening President Cyril Ramaphosa’s hand as he implements reforms to revive a flagging economy.
With close to two-thirds of the ballots counted, the ANC had 56.8% of the vote, according to the Independent Electoral Commission’s website.
That majority could rise to 57.7%, a research institute projected, well above the 54.5% in nationwide municipal elections in 2016. The main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, had 22.5%, down from 27%.
The rand advanced 0.4% to 14.3242 per dollar by 20:11 in Johannesburg on Thursday, even as most emerging market currencies weakened on concern the US-China trade war is about to escalate. By 10:32 on Friday morning, the rand was changing hands at R14.25.
Ramaphosa needs a decisive win to quell opposition in the faction-riven ANC to give him the clout to restructure debt-ridden state-owned companies and combat corruption. A loss of support could have emboldened his critics and limited his policy options.
Voting for the 400-member National Assembly and nine provincial legislatures ran until 21:00 on Wednesday, with final results scheduled to be released by May 11. A first meeting of the new parliament has been provisionally set for May 22.
The president is officially elected at that sitting.
Image (DA leader Mmusi Maimane should be worried his party not doing well thus far in the polls).