Local government elections today
More than 23 million South Africans will be entitled to vote in local elections in South Africa today. They will be voting for 4,275 ward councillors and 460 proportional representation seats.
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has reported that 120 parties are standing in the provinces and there are 53,757 candidates contesting, up from the 36,475 who stood in the 2006 elections. Polling stations will be open between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. local time.
The two main parties, the African National Congress (ANC) and Democratic Alliance (DA) will be slugging it out in some key towns and cities. A recent Ipsos poll suggests that the ANC is losing its grip in a number of areas and their support has fallen from 66% in 2006 to 59% today. The DA has gone up from 14.8% in 2006 to 19.3%.
The DA currently controls Cape Town and expect to continue to do so. They are threatening to win control of Port Elizabeth and possibly even Johannesburg. Other key areas to watch are Pretoria, Northern cape province, Eastern cape and the Free State.
Voters have become incensed at the lack of governance in some councils as well as poor services. Lack of running water, sanitation, schools, healthcare and housing have all become campaign issues, with corruption and the arrogance of some legislators being cited as reasons for people changing their vote.
The loss of any of the major cities in particular will be seen as very damaging to President Zuma and the weakening of the stranglehold of the ANC on South African politics.