Plummeting voter turnout and big gains for fringe parties are signs of a maturing democracy.
A street vendor sells goods depicting South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on 12 January 2019.Image copyrightAFP

Plummeting voter turnout and big gains for fringe parties at either end of the political spectrum are arguably signs of South Africa's maturing democracy, however they could also be seen as evidence of a more divided society. With almost all of the votes counted, the governing ANC is set to limp on with a reduced majority but some difficult challenges lie ahead.

1: The ANC lost ground - but is celebrating

Many people are asking why the governing African National Congress (ANC) is happy after recording its worst performance since white minority rule ended in 1994 - 57% share of the vote.

This is the first time the party that has led South Africa since 1994 has won less than 60% of votes, but for an organisation that is hugely divided, riddled by corruption and has had a decade of lethargic leadership, this result is seen as a boost for its new leader Cyril Ramaphosa.

Many people see this as the ANC's last chance to redeem itself.

Mr Ramaphosa took over the party in December 2017, after the ANC sacked Jacob Zuma, embroiled in corruption allegations, which he denies.