Zupta's Next Nightmare: The South African Local Government Elections of 3 August 2016

Ulf Engel


On 3 August 2016 South Africa held its fifth local government elections (LGE) since the end of Apartheid in 1994. Against a backdrop of increasing political frustration with the ruling party’s poor performance and continued debates about corruption and cronyism in the highest government circles, the African National Congress (ANC) maintained its dominant position but lost 8 per cent of the aggregate vote (53.91 per cent). The Democratic Alliance (DA) gained some 3 per cent (26.89 per cent) of the vote, and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), first-time LGE campaigners, garnered 8.02 per cent. Importantly, the ANC lost control of three of the seven big metropolitan municipalities it had previously held. Since there was no clear-cut majority in four of the eight metros, coalition politics and the art of compromise will become a major feature of South African politics in the coming years. The elections were highly competitive and considered free and fair. At 57.97 per cent, voter turnout was slightly higher than in 2011.

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