NewsSouthern AfricaSouth Africa's ANC suffers major setbacks in local elections

Sun,21Jan2018

Posted on Thursday, 04 August 2016 15:04

South Africa's ANC suffers major setbacks in local elections

By Crystal Orderson in Cape Town

Photo©Schalk van Zuydam/AP/SIPASouth Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) suffered some setbacks in Wednesday's local government elections, with early trends showing its supporters may have stayed away, with Nkandla, President Jacob Zuma's local ward, shockingly falling to Inkatha Freedom Party.

The apathy benefitted the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), as a massive turnout of its members saw it defeating the ANC in some of its traditional strongholds.

With more than 60 per cent of the vote counted, ANC predictably won the majority of the vote in the country's fifth local government election, with the Democratic Alliance in second place and the new kid on the block, the Economic Freedom Fighters in third position according to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

The election and verification of counting has been extremely well and we are happy with it

The DA was projected to sweep the major metropolitan areas, which were seen as key battleground states, in an election deemed as a litmus test for the ruling party.

Shockwaves reverberated across the country when results of Nkandla, Zuma's rural area and where he voted, showed that the ANC had lost the ward to IFP.

In the Western Cape, a ward where Zuma has another homestead has also fallen to the DA, early results showed. A possible scenario now is that the Tshwane, Cape Town and Nkandla homes of Zuma may all soon be in opposition hands.

The vote is still neck and neck in the three hotly contested battleground areas of Johannesburg and Tshwane in Gauteng and the Nelson Mandela Bay metro in the Eastern Cape, where the DA seemed to have an upper hand. The DA is leading the race so far with the ANC trailing in second place. 

The DA's mayoral candidate for the Nelson Mandela Bay metro, Athol Trollip told the media that the election is a "good reminder" that the power is in the hands of the voter and not in the government.

Trollip said with 65% of the vote counted in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro, it was still "early days to declare victory, but it's exciting".

The EFF, the third biggest party, is likely to be the kingmaker in these provinces, as they hold the swing vote. Mbuyeseni Ndlozi, EFF's spokesman has already declared they "remained steadfast in their resolve not to form coalitions with the arrogant ANC".

ANC secretary general, Gwede Mantashe said they were comfortable with the early lead. The metro provinces have significant voter numbers and it is also where the ANC has been under pressure to show their strength.

In Cape Town the DA won a landslide victory, winning more than 70 per cent of the vote, with the ANC receiving less than 20 per cent of the vote and the EFF showing a poor performance.

Reacting to the early results, political analyst, Sanusha Naidoo said voters have shown that they do not want complacency from political parties. "In the urban areas, voters have shown they are savvy, parties have to work for votes and they are making parties sweat," Naidoo said.

In KwaZulu-Natal, the IFP won 11 of the 14 wards, triggering lively celebrations. The ANC has maintained the majority of the vote in the Northern Cape, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the Free State.

A record 200 parties, 65 per cent more than in 2011, partook in the August 3 elections, with a total of 61 014 candidates, 12 per cent more contesting the polls. The election was also one of the most hotly contested since the dawn of South Africa's democracy in 1994.

The IEC's Terry Tshelane said they were happy with the electoral process so far. "The election and verification of counting has been extremely well and we are happy with it, this has been biggest operations ever and it's a major achievement and something to celebrate," he said.



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