Local elections end one party dominance for ANC
The ruling African National Congress (ANC) has had its worst set of elections since taking over the country in the early 1990s. In municipal elections held last Wednesday (3rd August) the party dropped to a new low of support, taking just 54% of the vote down from 62.65% in the first all race elections in 1994 and its highest point in the 2004 general election when it took 69.69%. In local elections their previous low was 59.4% in the 2000 elections, the first held in the post-apartheid era.
The results on Wednesday were a victory for the Democratic Alliance (DA) and its leader Mmusi Maimane fighting his first elections. Whilst the DA had done well traditionally in Western Cape, this time they were able to knock the ANC out of their majority positions in the commercial capital Johannesburg and in the capital Pretoria. The DA also picked up the country’s largest industrial city and port of Port Elizabeth.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EEF), a far-left breakaway party from the ANC led by Julius Malema also did well but not as well as expected.
The ANC remains the largest party in five of South Africa’s nine provinces; Free State, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North-West, and the Northern Cape but the DA rose to 23.9% of the vote overall, its best result yet. The EEF managed 8% of the vote, down on their hoped for 18%, but will be kingmakers in Tshwane, Johannesburg, and Ekurhuleni where they control the balance of power.
But the best news that comes from the elections is that it looks as though the days of one party dominance are now over in South Africa.