South Africa’s Ruling ANC Party Suffers Worst Election Outcome

South Africa’s Ruling ANC Party  Suffers Worst Election OutcomeSouth Africa’s Ruling ANC Party  Suffers Worst Election Outcome

South Africa's ruling party was struggling on Saturday to retain control of two major municipalities after losing another key urban area in its worst electoral performance since the end of apartheid.

The African National Congress has ruled virtually unopposed since it ended white-minority rule in 1994 with Nelson Mandela at its helm. But its grip on power is being shaken against the backdrop of high unemployment, a stagnating economy and a series of scandals that have dogged President Jacob Zuma, Reuters reported.

With 99% of votes counted from Wednesday's municipal elections, the ANC was still leading in the overall count but had lost to the main opposition Democratic Alliance in the municipality of Nelson Mandela Bay, which includes the city of Port Elizabeth, a key manufacturing hub and port city.

The DA was narrowly ahead in Tshwane, home to the capital Pretoria, while the ANC held a slim margin in the country's economic hub of Johannesburg, in tight races that have changed hands several times during the vote count. The outcome of the municipal polls reshapes the political landscape in South Africa ahead of national elections due in 2019 and they may also embolden Zuma's rivals within the ANC to challenge him.

The DA, which last year elected its first black leader, Mmusi Maimane, as part of a drive to shake off its image as a party that mainly serves white interests, retained control of Cape Town, which it has held since 2006.

"It signals to everyone that the tide in our country is turning," Maimane told reporters on Saturday, predicting that his party would edge out the ANC in Tshwane and form a coalition to run the municipality.