SOUTH Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission announced last night that the final results of municipal elections will be confirmed this evening, but they are already a disaster for the African National Congress.
The ANC, which led the anti-apartheid struggle to win democracy, accepted defeat yesterday in the municipality of Nelson Mandela Bay, which includes Port Elizabeth.
ANC secretary-general Cyril Ramaphosa said: “We lost Nelson Mandela Bay and we have conceded that we have lost it and we are going to do an introspective look on ourselves and our members will be involved in that.”
He drew comfort from the record total of 15 million voters who backed the ANC, describing it as “a phenomenal achievement that should not be dismissed.”
But this figure, translating from nationwide percentages of 54.41 for ANC, 26.28 for Democratic Alliance (DA) and 7.99 for the Economic Freedom Fighters, with 96 per cent of all votes counted, cannot disguise the reality that the ANC has never previously failed to take less than 60 per cent of the popular vote.
DA mayoral candidate Athol Trollip acknowledged that he would need to form a coalition to take over in Nelson Mandela Bay, where the DA has 57 seats, the ANC 50, the EFF six and a string of minor parties have a total of seven.
“We don’t need the EFF. There are seven other seats — the EFF have six. I don’t count out the EFF entirely. We have to govern here. The EFF will play a significant role in opposition,” he said.
In contrast, DA national leader Mmusi Maimane hinted last night at the prospect of an alliance with smaller parties in Tshwane, which includes the capital Pretoria.
With 82 per cent of the votes counted, the ANC leads with 42.8 per cent, the DA has 42.3 per cent and the EFF has 11 per cent.
A similar arrangement might apply in the business capital Johannesburg, where, with 74 per cent of votes tallied, the DA has 41.87 per cent, the ANC 41.69 per cent and the EFF 10.59 per cent.
EFF leader Julius Malema insisted yesterday that his party would not consider any form of alliance with the ANC.