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.
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