ANC set for worst post-apartheid showing in local polls

ANC set for worst post-apartheid showing in local polls

The ANC on Tuesday looked set to deliver its worst ever electoral performance since the end of apartheid, with support expected to dip below 50 percent in local government polls.


With around 30 percent of polling stations reporting following Monday's fiercely contested elections, the African National Congress stood at 46 percent of the vote, according to electoral commission figures.

Voters were called to elect local representatives responsible for hot-button issues including electricity, housing, water and sanitation.

Poor service delivery has dogged South African for years while senior party members, including ex-president Jacob Zuma, face corruption investigations, and unemployment has hit 34.4 percent.

Frustrations with the ANC government played out in July when widespread rioting and looting erupted following Zuma's imprisonment for contempt after refusing to testify in a corruption investigation.

The unrest claimed at least 354 lives.

Until 2016, the ANC had won more than 60 percent at every election since the country's first multi-racial vote in 1994 when Nelson Mandela was sworn in as president.

Its support slipped from 62 percent in the 2011 municipal elections to 54 percent during the 2016 vote.

Pollsters forecast the ANC to win 46 percent overall in the local polls held every five years.

"The national picture is that we see the ANC dropping from their 2016 performance of 54.1 percent to 46.8 percent," Xolisa Ngwadla, statistics analyst with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), told AFP.

The largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, also looked set to lose support with forecasters seeing it drop from 29.9 percent in previous polls to 22.7 percent in the current election, said the CSIR, a government research institution, whose prediction model typically has a 0.5 percent margin of error.

Contesting its second municipal elections, the far-left Economic Freedom Fighters is expected to enjoy a boost, from 7.1 percent to 10.6 percent.

In 2016 the ANC lost control for the first time of the country's economic hub and its largest city Johannesburg, as it did the capital Pretoria and the southern city of Port Elizabeth, now renamed Gqeberha.

The losing streak has continued, with the ANC's support forecast to erode further in Johannesburg from the 44.7 percent it garnered in the previous vote to 36.3 percent.

In the Pretoria capital region, "we project the ANC to land at around 34 percent, which is a decline from a previous 38.1 percent," Ngwadla said.

Turnout also dropped from a previous 57 percent to a low 48 percent of the qualified 26.2 million voters, according to the CSIR.

Final tabulations from the country's sixth municipal vote since the end of apartheid were expected Wednesday, while official results will be announced on Thursday.

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