S. Africa’s A.N.C. slides to worst show in local polls

Aug 05, 2016, 5:14 AM EDT
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma
(Source: GovernmentZA/flickr)

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (A.N.C.) is likely to face its worst electoral performance since it swept to power two decades ago. With about 85 percent of the votes in the municipal elections counted, the A.N.C. trailed the opposition Democratic Alliance (D.A.) in the cities of Port Elizabeth and Cape Town while a tightrope contest unfolded in Johannesburg and Pretoria.

Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said that the voters have distanced themselves from the A.N.C. as the party failed to manage the economy and the city, writes the BBC. Analysts believe that the A.N.C.’s reputation has been dented by a stagnant economy, unemployment and corruption scandals surrounding President Jacob Zuma.

Maimane described the election results not only a transformation of the local council but a change in the national political landscape, saying that the polls were like a referendum on Zuma’s leadership.

This will be the first time that the A.N.C. will fail to secure 60 percent of the votes since the country’s first multiracial poll in 1994, writes The Guardian. Thursday’s vote indicated that the days of a one-party system in South Africa are about to get over. Rival parties proved far more efficient in mobilizing supporters to sign up for the elections and attend polling stations than the A.N.C.