ANC’s popularity waning, as Democratic Alliance retools alliance with EFF, ActionSA, wins mayoral seats in major cities

Candidates of the Democratic Alliance, DA, won mayoral seats in the country's most populated province of Gauteng: Johannesburg, Tshwane which includes the administrative capital Pretoria and Ekurhuleni, where the busiest airport is located.

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The Democratic Alliance, DA, South Africa’s largest opposition party, won mayoral posts in three major cities in the country’s economic heartland, a blow to the governing African National Congress, ANC, in the wake of its worst-ever election result

The Democratic Alliance, DA, South Africa’s largest opposition party, won mayoral posts in three major cities in the country’s economic heartland, a blow to the governing African National Congress, ANC, in the wake of its worst-ever election result.

Candidates of the Democratic Alliance, DA, won mayoral seats in the country’s most populated province of Gauteng: Johannesburg, Tshwane which includes the administrative capital Pretoria and Ekurhuleni, where the busiest airport is located.

The DA victories were helped by the support of the Marxist Economic Freedom Fighters, EFF, led by firebrand Julius Malema, and ActionSA, led by a former DA mayor of Johannesburg who broke away from the party.

The DA has struggled to shake off its image as a party of white economic privilege, while the EFF argues for radical economic policies like the nationalization of land and the central bank.

In the municipal elections held early November, the ANC’s overall support dropped below 50% for the first time since the end of white minority rule, and its share of the vote in big cities like Pretoria and Johannesburg slid to roughly one-third. 

DA leader John Steenhuisen, who during the election was adamant he would do no deal with the EFF, told reporters his party’s victories meant a psychological threshold had been crossed. “Today the whole of South Africa knows that the ANC can be beaten,” he said.

The ANC in Johannesburg has congratulated the DA’s incoming mayor and said it would hold her administration accountable.

ActionSA said its support for the DA was motivated by a desire to keep the ANC out of power and it was now up to the DA to return to the negotiating table if it wanted stable local governments.

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