By lunchtime on Thursday, the ANC had scored 86 seats in the Ekurhuleni metropolitan municipality, needing a further 26 seats to regain its dwindled power in the third contested Gauteng metro.
According to Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) rolling results in the afternoon, the ruling party was struggling to get to the 112 council seats that would automatically give it the majority in the 224-seat council.
The DA had 65 seats, the EFF 31 and Herman Mashaba’s ActionSA 15, while the FF Plus sat in fifth position with eight seats.
The IFP and African Independent Congress (AIC) each had three seats and ACDP two. The IRASA (Independent Ratepayers Association of SA), Independent Citizens Movement (ICM) and PAC each had one seat.
On Tuesday night, the IEC announced Ekurhuleni as one of the 52 hung municipalities in the 2021 municipal elections, a record number that is almost double the 27 from the 2016 municipal polls.
In 2016 the ANC secured 109 seats, entering into a coalition arrangement with the AIC, PAC, Patriotic Alliance and IRASA.
It still remains to be seen which parties the ANC and DA would enter into negotiations with to rule Ekurhuleni.
The ANC in Ekurhuleni had told Sowetan that they were still analysing the result and would take instructions on coalitions from party headquarters Luthuli House.
Mashaba had made it known throughout this week that he wasn’t willing to work with the ANC while the DA’s John Steenhuisen said a possible marriage with the EFF was out of the question.
In a press conference at lunchtime on Thursday , EFF leader Julius Malema said their doors were open for negotiations.
“We are not going to approach anyone. We have not been elected as a majority in any municipality – it is a clear indication of how people feel about us so we shouldn’t go around bothering anyone. But those who come to us, they will find our door open,” said Malema.