ANC breakaway party emerges kingmaker after close polls
A breakaway party of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) has emerged a kingmaker following last week’s hotly contested local government elections.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) led by former ANC youth league leader Julius Malema says it is yet to make a decision on whether to join a coalition with the ruling party or the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party in the two major metros of Johannesburg and Tshwane.
Johannesburg was left with a hung council after the ANC received 44.55 percent of the vote and the DA got 38.37 percent.
EFF’s 11.09 percent of the vote meant that both the ANC and DA would need Malema’s party to gain control of the council.
A similar situation played out in the capital Tshwane where the DA got 43.11 percent of the vote against the ANC’s 41.22 percent. The EFF claimed 11.7 percent of the votes.
EFF chairperson, Dali Mpofu told a local radio station that his party was considering “all the political options on the table” when he was asking about which party they would choose between the ANC and DA as a coalition partner.
“The other option is not going into coalitions at all and we decide not to go into partnership with either the DA or the ANC,” he said. “We will put it to the leadership that there are all the options whether to work with the ANC or the DA, and we might change our minds.
“Ideologically we are different from the ANC and the DA, in fact these two parties are closer with their neo-liberal policies” Mpofu said.
EFF has said it is willing to work with the ANC on condition that President Jacob Zuma steps down. On the other hand, the DA has indicated it would engage EFF to form coalitions in the key metropolitan areas.
In a related development, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) said it was disappointed that the ANC’s share of the national vote had “decreased dramatically” in the just ended polls.
“We also find it lamentable that the movement has failed to hold on to some of the big metropolitan municipalities across the country,” the federation said.
Cosatu said the outcome was “disheartening”, adding that “it would be insincere to pretend that there were no visible signs of a gradual decline of our movement.” The federation is part of the ANC’s ruling alliance.
Meanwhile, 15 296 746 South Africans voted in the August 8 local government elections, an increase of 1 631 832 compared to the 2011polls, according to statistics issued by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on its website.
The number of people on the voter’s roll has also increased to over 26 million compared to over 23 million in 2011.
Gauteng – which has the biggest pool of voters – saw the largest increase in voter turnout with 58% of registered voters casting their Ballots compared to 55.77 percent in 2011.