IN FOCUS: A bruised ANC, a galvanised DA

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Supporters cheer as they wait for opposition Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille to address her party's final election rally in Johannesburg May 3, 2014. South Africa goes to the polls on May 7 in elections which are expected to keep President Jacob Zuma's African National Congress (ANC) in power. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)
CHANGE: Democratic Alliance supporters gather at a rally during the 2016 local elections *picture courtesy of eNCA

Support for the ruling party fell to below 60% of the votes for the first time since 1994

Pretoria – The ANC was left bruised and the DA energised, while the EFF emerged as kingmakers following one of the most hotly-contested elections in post-democratic South Africa.

Support for the ruling party fell to below 60% of the votes for the first time since 1994, who only won outright majorities in Buffalo City, Mangaung, and eThekwini.

In Gauteng, the party got 44.55% of the vote, the DA 38.37%, and the EFF 11.09%. The ANC failed to get over the 50% mark in Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, and Mogale City.

The failure of any single party to break the 50% mark meant coalitions would be the order of the day for the next five years.

The EFF had said it would not enter into coalitions with the ANC, the party its founding members rejected in 2013. The UDM had said it was prepared to enter into partnerships with the DA, which could see Mmusi Maimane’s party getting an outright majority in Nelson Mandela Bay.

The ANC’s Gauteng chairperson, Paul Mashatile, said the ANC had already been approached by other parties, and had approached others to negotiate possible coalitions.

Thriving democracy

President Jacob Zuma struck a conciliatory tone and said the 2016 local government elections showed the world that democracy was thriving in South Africa. He congratulated all the parties, including those who gained new municipalities. South Africans were the real victors, and their will prevailed, he said.

“You have shown the world that South Africa is a thriving democracy where differences of political opinion and diverse political preferences are allowed to flourish,” he said in a speech at the IEC’s results centre in Pretoria.

He called on elected representatives to build accessible, caring, and efficient local governments, regardless of which party was in charge in municipalities.

His speech was overshadowed by an anti-rape protest by a group of women. As he spoke, they stood up and displayed placards with words recalling his rape trial 10 years ago. More drama followed when security guards shoved them away.