South Africa heads for coalition talks after ANC loses 30-year majority

South Africa's African National Congress (ANC) is preparing to enter talks with other parties to share power for the first time, after losing its three-decade majority in a watershed election.

With over 99.9 percent of the votes from this week's election counted by Sunday, the ANC had just 40.2 percent – a far cry from the 57.5 percent it won in 2019.

"The ANC is committed to the formation of a government that reflects the will of the people, that is stable and that is able to govern effectively," secretary-general Fikile Mbalula told a press conference on Sunday, in the party leadership's first comments since the outcome became clear.

He said the ANC would hold discussions internally and with other groups "over the next few days".

The party had held an absolute majority since 1994, when South Africa's first democratic elections brought white-minority rule to an end.

Mbalula acknowledged that it had "suffered heavily" in this election, while insisting that voters had not pushed it out of government altogether.

"The results send a clear message to the ANC," he said.

"We wish to assure the people of South Africa that we have heard them. We have heard their concerns, their frustrations and their dissatisfaction."

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(with newswires)

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