By John Ikani
Electoral support for the African National Congress (ANC) has fallen below 50% for the first time since the start of the democratic era in 1994.
The party polled 46% countrywide in Monday’s local elections, the electoral commission said.
Results from Monday’s local elections have left the party of Nelson Mandela politically wounded.
Its closest rival, the Democratic Alliance got a 22% share of the vote and Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters won 10%.
In the last local election in 2016, the ANC polled 54%.
The next general election is set for 2024.
“We are eating this elephant bit by bit,” were the words echoed by Julius Malema, the leader of third biggest party the Economic Freedom Fighters, as a clear picture emerged that the ANC was losing support across the country.
Yet there is no anti-ANC majority coalition, because South Africa’s opposition parties are ideologically very divided.
The official results show:
• The ANC got 46% of the vote
• The main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) 22%
• The left-wing Economic Freedom Fighters 10%
• The Zulu Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) 6%
• The majority Afrikaner party Freedom Front Plus 2%
• And the newly minted ActionSA also 2%
Acknowledging that coalition governments will be the order of the day, President Cyril Ramaphosa, chosen by the ANC in 2018 to halt the party’s ebbing support, said: “If we are to make this a new and better era, we as leaders must put aside our differences.”