ANC stung in dramatic election - TechCentral

ANC stung in dramatic election


The ANC risks losing outright control of the capital, Pretoria, and Johannesburg in its worst electoral display since apartheid ended, as urban voters showed their anger over a flat-lining economy and scandals surrounding President Jacob Zuma.

While the ruling party took a narrow lead in the cities as results from its traditional strongholds in townships started to come in, its share of the national vote is set to drop below 60% for the first time since it swept to power under Nelson Mandela in 1994.

“It has lost ground in the urban middle-class areas, and in a country that is rapidly urbanising, that is a threat to the ANC,” Nic Borain, a Cape Town-based political analyst and adviser to BNP Paribas Securities South Africa, said by phone. “To get below 60% and to lose two metros would be a serious failing for the ANC, even one metro.”

Still widely credited for ending white minority rule, the ANC now faces almost daily demonstrations over the failure of the government it leads to fulfil promises to create jobs, address poverty and improve living standards.

Unemployment is at 27%, the central bank anticipates zero growth this year and the nation’s credit rating is at risk of being cut to junk by S&P Global Ratings in December.

A succession of graft scandals implicating Zuma, 74, has also fuelled dissatisfaction.

“It doesn’t seem that the ANC is doing that badly that they will feel the need to get rid of Zuma, but they will have to do a lot of soul searching,” Melanie Verwoerd, a former ANC lawmaker and South African ambassador to Ireland, who now works as an independent political analyst, said in an interview.

The ANC moved ahead in Tshwane, the municipality that includes Pretoria, with 43,2% of the vote, narrowly ahead of the Democratic Alliance with 42,6%, partial tallies by the Independent Electoral Commission show.

In Johannesburg, the ruling party had 42,1% support compared with the DA’s 42%. The DA was ahead in the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality, which includes Port Elizabeth, with 49,5% support, compared to the ANC’s 39,3%, and looks set to increase its majority in Cape Town.

Balance of power

The Economic Freedom Fighters, which advocates the nationalisation mines, banks and land, holds the balance of power in Pretoria and Johannesburg. Like the DA, it has said it is prepared to enter into coalitions with other opposition parties, but not the ANC.

“It will be very difficult for the ANC, or the DA, or even the EFF, to find anyone but each other to do a deal,” Daniel Silke, director of Cape Town-based Political Futures Consultancy, said by phone. “This will result in prolonged coalition building, falling apart and rebuilding until some form of stable government is achieved in towns and cities.”

The DA expects to win 47% support in Nelson Mandela Bay, making it the largest party, and will start talks on forming a coalition to run the council once the vote count is complete, party leader Mmusi Maimane told reporters in Pretoria.

With 10,3m, or about 70% of the estimate of votes cast nationally in the election counted as of 7.30pm on Thursday, the ANC had 54% of the total support, followed by the DA with 27,5%, according to the commission. The EFF stood at 7,5%.

Investors wary

The ANC has pledged to cut the budget deficit and improve the management of state companies to defend the investment-grade rating. Yet investors are still wary about its plans to introduce a national minimum wage, give the state a bigger role in the economy and to take a free stake in new oil and gas ventures.

The DA plans to remove policy uncertainty to attract investment, improve public-sector fiscal management, support small businesses in creating jobs and reform the labour market so that it’s more flexible and enables companies to create positions more easily.

The rand strengthened 1,4% to R13,70/US$ at 7.15pm in Johannesburg, the best performer of 24 emerging market currencies monitored by Bloomberg. It’s still down about 40% since Zuma took office on 9 May 2009.

Zuma under pressure

Zuma has come under pressure to quit since the nation’s top court ruled in March that he violated the constitution by refusing to repay taxpayer money spent on upgrading his private home.

While the ANC’s poor election showing will add to the pressure on him to go before his current term ends in 2019, the party is unlikely to oust him, because his allies control the party’s top structures and he has appointed most of them to senior government posts.

The partial results may not be an accurate indication of the final outcome as counting from rural areas and townships where the ANC has historically had more support tends to take longer.

“We are confident that we will keep all the metros that we’ve kept before,” Jessie Duarte, the ANC’s deputy secretary-general, said in Pretoria. “We are not worried at all.”  — (c) 2016 Bloomberg LP

  • Reported with assistance from Alastair Reed, Arabile Gumede and Amogelang Mbatha


  1. Greg Mahlknecht on

    Zuma must stay. If he can keep being an idiot and wipe out another 8% of the ANC’s support before the national election, that’d be awesome.

  2. Well the sensible people in the Metro’s have spoken – clearly saying Zuma #$@% off. For the rural and smaller areas, the sheep continue to blindly follow. As for the ANC, you failed to listen, thought only of yourselves and gave us an idiot leader – suffer the consequences but stop making us suffer.

  3. Vusumuzi Sibiya on

    I would’ve thought that there’d be more of a concern from the opposition about the fact that the 8% ground lost by the ANC can be seen; and attributable to the people voting EFF, some independents and voter turnout.

    The genuine victory for the DA is NMB and there the DA’s mayoral candidate worked the ground far better and is also articulate in all the languages of the electorate in his community – which certainly counts.

    As for the wake-up call or slap on the wrist that the ANC is receiving from the electorate in Gauteng, which points to obvious concerns with leadership and further demonstrated in the victory by the IFP in the now notorious Nkhaaandla;

    …that situation is inclined to be somewhat short-lived; the IFP went through the same when the NFP stepped onto the scene; and the DA hasn’t exactly won over the voters who voted EFF and for the independents.

    Personally, I think it would be better for the ANC to consolidate and go into the hung metros as an opposition… it’s easier to be noisy when you’re not in the “HOT SEAT” and in due course, just as is the case with the NFP voters; those that cast their votes for known thugs just to voice dissatisfaction will return.

  4. Greg Mahlknecht on

    No, the EFF isn’t a big deal… They got 6.3% in the national elections, we’d expect them to gain a bit on that, and they got 1.7% increase, I’m a but surprised it was so low after how you went on about them. If your sentiments about them being the major threat are reflective of the ANC’s wider views, it’s clear they were dead wrong in their strategy.

    For all your “on the ground things are different” bravado you’ve been spouting recently, it was obviously wrong. 95% of the votes are in, and, as Zuma would say, The DA “has a good story to tell” 🙂

    Even though there wasn’t an outright victory, the Jhb and Tshwane vote % swings were bigger than NMB. DA never expected to win these areas – the expectations were that ANC would drop below 50%, but the results in these 2 areas are FAR better than expected.

  5. Vusumuzi Sibiya on

    It would seemingly appear that you aren’t at all aware of how the system works; or you are just conveniently using percentages applicable to national, interchangeably; to paint an exaggerated picture of gains for the DA.

    Yes… the EFF would probably be the ones most disappointed in how they fared; and the only genuine sentiment community won over by the DA through a better –

    >>”on the ground things are different” bravado you’ve been spouting

    …is NMB; the national picture still shows that under the prevailing circumstances with the ANC being lead by current leadership, the party still enjoys huge support;

    – minus the EFF and the independents from the ANC factor; the contest would’ve yielded those votes to the ANC; and that is something that can easily be corrected;

    …you are getting ahead of yourself being drunk on excitement of very insignificant proportion of the electorate that was wiped off from the ANC in favor of thugs and independents as oppose to genuine sentiment towards the DA.

  6. Greg Mahlknecht on

    >just conveniently using percentages applicable to national interchangeably

    I’m comparing figures of the same scope in my comparisons. elections . org has the last 3 elections’ history from national to ward level on a pretty excellent map you can drill down on. On a national level, it’s fair to compare total vote count to the last general elections, when plotted they become part of the same trend.

    >the party still enjoys huge support

    It does, but it’s constantly losing that support and this election was a particularly big loss.

    >the contest would’ve yielded those votes to the ANC

    Not too sure about that, the majority of EFF’s sales pitch is basically “we’re not the ANC”.

    >drunk on excitement of very insignificant proportion of the electorate

    Not at all, it’s good for all of us, and it’s already reflected in the exchange rate improvement… this will bring more investment, cheaper goods, cheaper petrol, etc. It helps a lot that ANC has lost its grip on most of the main economic centers of the country. This all happened without reports of violence and only the occasional murmuring of unfair elections, which soon die out. The results aside, this was a major win for democracy and the country as a whole.

  7. Vusumuzi Sibiya on

    >drunk on excitement of very insignificant proportion of the electorate

    Humble pie is not consumed with large volumes of champagne; and I can guarantee that we are the most sober after the results as there isn’t much celebration.

    I am aware of all that data and rather than comparing the results with the past; my preference is to utilize the latest data in planning for the future and from these results what bodes well for the country is a reduction in the number of provinces so as to substantially reduce administrative expenditure and better utilize budgets from national government.

    The Northern Cape, North West and Free State can make up one province; WC and EC can be combined into one province and there’s tremendous potential for tourism leveraging that entire garden route down to Cape Town; KZN can be combined with Mpumalange; Limpopo remains as is; with Gauteng also remaining as is and being a crown jewel to be contested by the parties; all in all just 5 provinces and that would be close to what we’d had previously being 4 provinces –

    >>The results aside, this was a major win for democracy and the country as a whole.

    Definitely… and the results should be best used for planning an outcome towards a better future for the country as a whole; the low growth in our economy isn’t entirely because of Zuma as the DA would have people believe; there are global factors affecting the economies of all countries and the difference that changing an incumbent government is going to make, is really not going to be that much and will also always fall short of the expectations of the masses people.

  8. Greg Mahlknecht on

    A few months ago, the province merging was decried as a cheap trick that the ANC was using to try and “steal” away the WC, but after this election, a new WC+EC province would actually be under DA rule by 250k votes and be a big loss to the ANC, it’ll be interesting to see if the DA now calls the ANC’s bluff on this, and the OTHER side can cry foul this time. Politics is fun.

    The other merges you mentioned would be fairer, the IFP would be gutted, but apart from that the political make-up of those neighboring provinces is close enough for it to be deemed pretty fair and not cause change in leadership.

  9. William Stucke on

    > there are global factors affecting the economies of all countries


    > the low growth in our economy isn’t entirely because of Zuma as the DA and opposition would have people believe;

    Not true. Average growth in Africa is 3%. The only African countries with low or zero growth are those that have suffered a major calamity, such as Ebola, civil war, or … Zuma.

  10. !I’d love to support your sentiments Greg, but 2 more years of damage could make it much much harder to recover

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