ANC hopes to avoid worst post-apartheid result in local vote in South Africa

  • Dissatisfaction with poor service delivery could cost the ANC dear
  • Analysts predict party vote share could drop below 50%
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa remains popular
  • ANC lost key metropolitan areas in 2016 polls

JOHANNESBURG, Nov. 1 (Reuters) – South Africans voted in municipal elections on Monday, with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) hoping to avoid its worst result since the end of the white minority rule.

There have been few reliable political polls, but based on the climate of discontent and the few polls that have been conducted, some experts predict that the ANC’s vote share could fall below 50% for the first time. since the end of apartheid.

President Cyril Ramaphosa remains popular after mobilizing government grants that have prevented COVID-19 from becoming a hunger crisis. But enduring poverty, crumbling infrastructure and nearly a third of unemployed workers mean some voters have lost patience with the party that has ruled for 27 years.

“I am here to vote for change,” said Xinyenyani Mthembu, a 67-year-old retiree, at a polling station in Soweto commune.

“I have been very loyal (to the ANC) for so many years because there have been improvements but it is not enough,” he said, adding that he was changing for the first time his party of choice, for a new party led by the old Johannesburg. Mayor Herman Mashaba.

Ramaphosa admitted that many voters were not happy, but called on them to support the party so that it can improve.

“This is the only election where we clearly tell our people that we are going to do better,” he said while voting in Soweto. “We realized that we have not always met the aspirations of our people.”

The ANC hopes to reclaim the metropolitan areas it lost to opposition-led coalitions in 2016, notably in Johannesburg and Pretoria, when its 54% vote share was the worst since coming to power. Read more

Residents wait to vote in local elections at an informal settlement in Lawley Township, near Johannesburg, South Africa, November 1, 2021. REUTERS / Siphiwe Sibeko

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The polls opened at 05:00 GMT and closed at 19:00 GMT.

ANC advocates say overturning decades of apartheid-era neglect in black neighborhoods was never going to be a quick fix. But he has also been dogged by corruption scandals.

“UNFINISHED”

Getting less than half the vote would be a psychological blow and raise the previously unthinkable possibility that the ANC could one day be in opposition.

It still seems a long way off. Its main rival, the Democratic Alliance (DA), struggled to shed its image as a privileged white party and suffered a backlash in October due to a poster campaign that divided racial tensions between the Indian and black ethnic communities.

And despite widespread discontent, the ANC’s emotional hold on poor, black townships remains strong, even among young voters with no vivid memories of apartheid.

“There is so much unfinished business, like the road, a hospital,” said Jonathan Mathebula, 20, queuing to vote in Diepsloot township, north of Johannesburg. A main road promised by ANC advisers for years had never materialized, but he said he said he would vote for the ANC.

Other parties include the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) – a Marxist group of former ANC youth leader Julius Malema – and ActionSA, Mashaba’s party. Mashaba has been called xenophobic because of his populist rhetoric against illegal immigrants, which he says has been misunderstood but refuses to moderate.

($ 1 = Rand 14.8)

Written by Tim Cocks Editing by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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