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South Africa’s ruling party loses control of major metropolitan area

By Crystal Orderson in Cape Town
Posted on Friday, 5 August 2016 13:09

According to provisional results, the ANC was trailing the Democratic Alliance (DA) by five percent with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) indicating that vote counting had ended in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Now major incursions into Gauteng and the Eastern Cape leave the ANC extremely vulnerable come 2019

The metro, named after the global icon, has been an ANC stronghold since the country’s first democratic election in 1994 and some analysts say the loss could spark fresh calls for President Jacob Zuma to resign.

ANC’s poor performance in the polls is being linked to various scandals faced by Zuma in recent years. On the other hand, the outcome in Nelson Mandela Bay gave the DA the mandate to run a second major city in South Africa after Cape Town.

But the DA will have to seek alliances with smaller parties to form a coalition government for the Nelson Mandela Bay metro. The party’s mayoral candidate, Athol Trollip said the DA would work with parties that shared similar values.

Some of the smaller parties the DA could be forced to work with include the radical, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). “My priority is to ensure we have to work together and corruption has to stop,” Trollip told a local radio station.

Meanwhile, South Africans were on Friday waiting anxiously for the final results of the fifth local government polls since the country gained majority rule in 1994.

The ANC was leading with more than 50 percent of the national vote. However, the ruling party was neck and neck with the DA in key metros of Tshwane and Johannesburg in Gauteng.

The DA held a narrow lead in the capital, Pretoria, with 66 percent of the votes in, while the two parties were on par in the economic hub of Johannesburg, with 64 percent of the votes counted.

The parties said they were not worried by the slower pace of the vote counting process in Gauteng as they believed the IEC was taking ‘extra care’ in the province due to the highly contested nature of the ballot.

BNP Baripas political analyst Nic Boraine said the DA’s strategy was geared towards the 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections.

“(They want) to focus on important service delivery areas and then come in and prove they can run major councils more effectively, and with less corruption than the ANC,” he said in a research note.

“Now major incursions into Gauteng and the Eastern Cape leave the ANC extremely vulnerable come 2019. Although the ANC’s ability to undermine the DA’s and EFF’s governance will be much greater in big metros other than Cape Town – the DA/EFF task will not be easy.”

Zuma is serving his last term in office and has resisted calls for him to step down to rescue the ruling party’s image in the face of the scandals.

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