JOHANNESBURG – Opposition parties are pleased that they have kept the African National Congress (ANC)’s majority below the 50% mark in the local government elections.
The governing party has claimed a total of 161 councils and over 46% of the vote. That’s down from 53.9% in the 2016 municipal elections.
The ANC experienced a number of blows in this election, including losing complete governance in the Ethekwini municipality.
The main opposing also declined overall, but they’re claiming victory.
The Democratic Alliance (DA)’s John Steenhuisen said that it had been the party’s project to bring the ANC below 50%.
“It gives us a solid foundation to start to build towards the 2024 election, with the ultimate game to bring the ANC below 50% across the length and breadth of South Africa,” he said.
One South Africa’s chief activist, Mmusi Maimane, also welcomed the record number of hung municipalities, saying that citizens had sent out a strong message to the big parties.
“The problem with South Africa is that citizens have been ignored for far too long. If the ANC could not keep the lights on, on the week of the elections, it tells you how arrogant they go to the voters with. So, when people are ignored, they feel like they’ve been dismissed. This gives them a powerful opportunity to say, let’s punish you at the polls, but let’s allow for citizens to come back into the centre of the conversation,” Maimane said.
A record 325 parties contested the 2021 elections, and the decline of the dominant parties has ushered in a new crop of voices.
Various parties are now set for coalition talks at various municipalities across the nation.