A taste of things to come? Analysts say election results 'the beginning of the end' for ANC

03 November 2021 - 07:18
By Amanda Khoza And Mawande Amashabalala
Mathekga said the results showed that the ANC had not recovered from 2016’s poor showing.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi Mathekga said the results showed that the ANC had not recovered from 2016’s poor showing.

The ANC was already reeling from a poor performance in the 2016 local government vote‚ but it appears to be even worse this time around‚ according to experts and based on results counted by the end of Tuesday evening.

What has worsened the ANC’s misfortunes are new kid on the block ActionSA‚ along with the DA proving to be resilient‚ despite a controversial election campaign. The EFF has also grown in key areas‚ as has the Freedom Front Plus.

While the ANC in 2016 mainly lost in Gauteng and in the Nelson Mandela Bay metros‚ it now appears set to get a bloodied nose in its traditional strong bases‚ including in KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State.

In KZN‚ there was a 36% voter turnout in Monday’s local government elections‚ a low that will surely hurt the ANC.

Experts believe this is a new dawn in South African politics. Political analyst Dr Ralph Mathekga said the biggest surprise was Herman Mashaba’s ActionSA. Mashaba was the Johannesburg mayor on a DA ticket after 2016‚ but went on to form his new party.

“He’s really had a good showing for a party that had no political history‚” he said. ActionSA had a particularly strong showing in Gauteng and was proving a headache for more established parties‚ in Johannesburg in particular.

By just before 9pm‚ according to the IEC's website‚ ActionSA had obtained 16.97% of the vote cast. This had a huge impact on the ANC‚ which had obtained 34.88% of the vote‚ and the DA‚ which had 25.04%.

Mashaba's party is likely to be a key coalition kingmaker in SA's economic centre.

Mathekga said that the DA's performance was also surprising.

“The DA also proved to be more resilient than I thought‚ and this shows that the ANC’s decline is really serious. The ANC has been the biggest loser in this election and that was expected‚ but the poor voter turnout means that there is no coming back‚” he said.

Mathekga said the results showed that the ANC had not recovered from 2016’s poor showing.

“This is actually a culmination of what happened in 2016 and it shows that they did not have a Plan B. I strongly believe that this is the beginning of the end of the ANC‚” he said.

Associate professor at the Wits University's school of governance‚ William Gumede‚ agreed‚ saying: “We are at a point where the ANC’s dominance is over‚ and they will need coalitions‚ even in a national election. This trend cannot be reversed‚ no matter what they say.”

In the future‚ Gumede said‚ municipalities will be governed by coalitions.

“The big thing for the ANC now is who are they going to go into coalition with‚” he said.

Gumede said these elections were worse than 2016 for the ruling party.

“It’s too late for the ANC because when you have been dominant as a political party and then you drop under 50%‚ there is a psychological thing that happens in society and among your own allies‚ when they start deserting you‚” he said.

Gumede said it was the end of an era for SA politics.

“In politics‚ what happens at the local level tells you what will happen at a national level‚” he said‚ throwing forward to the next national and provincial vote.