The ruling African National Congress (ANC) has commanded the majority vote of every general election since 1994.
But some experts predict that the 8 May elections could be the turning point.
Is the country headed for a coalition government?
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has not ruled out coalitions in key provinces, while the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) says it will not get into coalition with the DA. The ANC in Gauteng says it has no appetite for coalitions, and would rather be in opposition.
Associate professor of Public Law at the University of Cape Town, Richard Calland says that in South Africa at this point, a coalition is seen as a sign of weakness even though it could build a more consensual approach to government.
If you give in and enter into a coalition, it is seen as entering into a pact with the devil.— Richard Calland, Associate professor of Public Law - University of Cape Town
A coalition agreement can be seen as building a bridge between different groups.— Richard Calland, Associate professor of Public Law - University of Cape Town
But how does a party retain its identity and priorities in a coalition?
Calland says clear communication with party members is key.
The party must also look at its most important principles and reinforce them.
You have to communicate clearly with members of your political party when you enter into a coalition.— Richard Calland, Associate professor of Public Law - University of Cape Town
You have to explain what you are doing, why you are doing it and how you are reinforcing your core principles— Richard Calland, Associate professor of Public Law - University of Cape Town
Calland says it is important for parties to approach a coalition like a contract, with a clear mandate on what is to be done to avoid future disputes.
To hear the rest of the conversation, listen below:
This article first appeared on 702 : In South Africa coalition government is seen as a sign of weakness - analyst