S. Africa’s ANC Set for Worst Elections Result

S. Africa’s ANC Set for Worst Elections ResultS. Africa’s ANC Set for Worst Elections Result

South Africa’s governing African National Congress looks to be facing its biggest electoral setback since the end of apartheid, after the partial results of municipal elections.

With 85% of the votes in, the ANC trails its main rival, the Democratic Alliance, in the cities of Port Elizabeth and Cape Town.

The two parties are in a close fight in Johannesburg and Pretoria. But the ANC is still in the lead nationally. Unemployment and corruption scandals surrounding President Jacob Zuma have tarnished the ANC’s image.

“The ANC failed to enthuse their voters and give them a credible offer and that is what often happens to parties that have mismanaged the economy, mismanaged the city, but it also says that we are growing as a party,” Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane told the BBC.

“We’ve been able to make an offer before South Africans that is compelling.”

Maimane earlier told 702 Radio: “We call this the change election because we felt that it was a referendum on Jacob Zuma as a national figure, but we also had a referendum about the future of South Africa.”

Final results are expected on Friday. The ANC has won more than 60% of the vote at every election since the end of apartheid more than two decades ago.

With two-thirds of the votes counted on Thursday, the ANC had 53%, followed by 28% for the Democratic Alliance and 7% for the radical Economic Freedom Fighters.

The local elections are being seen as an indication of the mid-term popularity of President Zuma. Correspondents say a poor ANC performance could embolden Zuma’s rivals within the party to challenge him.

The next presidential elections are due in 2019 but Zuma cannot stand for a third term.

South Africa’s economy has also been one of the main issues for voters, with growth expected to be zero this year and unemployment standing at 27%.

Protests demanding better housing and amenities have sprung up across South Africa. Zuma has also had to weather a corruption scandal, after being ordered to repay taxpayers’ money spent on his private home.