South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress, is expected to enter opposition in councils across the country after suffering heavy loss of votes in local elections.
The country’s president, ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa, said the party would rather become the main opposition in councils without a majority party rather than make “occasional deals” with political opponents to retain power.
Addressing his party’s post-election briefing on Monday, Ramaphosa said the ANC would not go hand in hand with other parties to form coalitions in the 66 ‘hanged’ councils – which include five large subways – which emerged after the counting of the votes. the November 1 poll.
“If we are to be an opposition [party], we will be an opposition. We will not enter coalitions at any cost, ”Ramaphosa said at the briefing in Soweto.
Support for South Africa‘s ruling party fell to just over 46% in polls last week from 54% five years ago, the worst election result than the former liberation movement recorded in the post-apartheid era.
The ANC won a majority in 161 of the country’s 257 municipalities. But he has lost significant support in every metro and especially in KwaZulu-Natal province, where the Inkatha Freedom Party is expected to lead at least 16 councils and control nine others.
Since the election results were announced late last week, the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), and other smaller parties have ruled out forming coalitions with the ANC. To do this, they say, would betray their supporters, who wanted to see a major political change in local government.
Corruption and power cuts
Widespread government corruption, high unemployment, crippling power outages and inefficient service delivery were the issues that dominated the election campaign.
Democratic Alliance leader John Steenhuisen said he had reached out to smaller parties including ActionSA, Freedom Front Plus and the African Christian Democratic Party and “put coalition deals on Table”.
The DA, which won 21.83% of the vote, said it would not join any coalition with South Africa’s third party, the radical left-wing economic freedom fighters, due to ideological differences.
The two opposition parties joined forces with smaller political formations to oust the ANC from the subways of Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay in the 2016 local elections, but the three coalitions collapsed due to conflict. internal issues and disagreements.
Due to its dwindling options, the ANC began negotiating with EFF, which won 10.42% of the vote, behind the scenes.
In South Africa, city councils are required to meet within 14 days of the publication of the official results of a local election. If coalition agreements are not in place by this deadline, South African electoral laws provide for a resumption of voting in the municipalities concerned.