Tomorrow’s local elections could spell significant political change for South Africa, a country with an already turbulent political history.
The elections are seen as a watershed event for the current governing party, the African National Congress (ANC) which was been widely accused of corruption and failure to deliver on its promises.
Because local government is responsible for basic services within the community, the ANC’s national image of incompetence has become an integral factor in how marginal voters will swing as they consider who will actually improve their quality of life. Voters have to decide which parties will meet their promises – possibly having to abandon long-term allegiances in the process.
The media have reported widely on the fact that much money intended to alleviate problems and improve services has gone missing at the local government level. The allegations against the ANC are at least in part responsible for a steady decline in support since it swept to power in 1994, ending the apartheid era. The ANC challenges recent predictions that it may well lose control of large areas of the country, where it previously dominated, but indications are that many voters have lost faith in the party. The campaign has been hard fought and involved widespread violence; several candidates have lost their lives.
The main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), is not likely to win areas on its own, but it could form regional coalitions with the third largest party, Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters. The DA has argued that it is the rightful heir to former president Nelson Mandela’s legacy of a multiracial, equal South Africa, and that it, rather than the ANC, has been keeping that vision alive.
Despite all this, the ANC is still a very powerful entity and has been campaigning strongly for months. The loss of one of the major cities it has controlled for 22 years would be a massive blow. – Compiled from web sources by Ariana Norton
Photo of the South African flag from MosesGuy’s Twitter account.