The popularity of the ANC has slipped in successive elections from its high of more than 60%. First it declined to under 60% , then to below 50% in Tshwane, Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay in 2016. Nonetheless, the DA shows no sign of benefiting from the ANC’s slack — hardly reaching even 30% of the votes cast. Instead, the ANC’s numbers have been absorbed by small, mostly new parties.

Inevitably, SA is in for many decades of coalitions. This is the central theme of a new book, Marriages of Inconvenience: The Politics of Coalitions in SA, which takes a forward-looking view of the country’s politics, but also an historical one.