South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) got less than 50 per cent of ballots cast in local government elections held on 1 November, the lowest it has ever received since the dawn of democracy in 1994.
There was low voter apathy characterised by low voter turnout with only two out of three potential voters registered. Of those, less than half actually cast ballots.
Widespread corruption, persistently high rates of unemployment, crippling power blackouts and ineffective delivery of government services were burning campaign issues.
In results announced on Thursday night, the ANC won 46 per cent of the vote, down from 54 per cent in the last municipal elections five years ago. It doesn’t look good for the ruling party ahead of the general elections in 2024.
The ANC will now control fewer councils and have fewer mayors in big and small cities across the country.
ANC leader and South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, acknowledged that the party will have to form coalitions to govern key metropolitan areas. Said Ramaphosa:
If we are to make this a new and better era, we as leaders must put aside our differences and work together in a spirit of partnership, of cooperation and collaboration and common purpose in the interest of the people of South Africa.
Major cities such as Johannesburg and Pretoria have had coalition governments since the last local polls five years ago.
Nationally, the ANC lost a majority in even more regions, including in eThekwini metro in former President Jacob Zuma’s stronghold province of KwaZulu-Natal.