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South Africa: What the local election results mean for Ramaphosa

By Carien du Plessis
Posted on Wednesday, 3 November 2021 11:39

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa casts his ballots at a polling station during local government elections in Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa, November 1, 2021. REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham

South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa's leadership of the ANC has thus far failed to stem his party's tumbling showing in elections polls, and his detractors are likely to use it against him.

With 60% of votes counted following Monday’s local government elections, the ANC’s total share of the vote is projected to drop below the 50% mark for the first time since it took power in 1994. This is from a high of 66.3% just 15 years ago, when Thabo Mbeki was president.

Record low turnout

The result also points to disgruntlement and apathy amongst the electorate, as many ANC voters simply preferred to stay home and voter turnout (final figures are unclear, but it’s estimated at between 30% to 40%) looks set to be the lowest in the country’s democratic history.