South Africa entering new era of 'permanent' coalition

Analysts tell ANC's recent losses in local elections point to future coalition deals with opponents

South Africa entering new era of 'permanent' coalition

World Bulletin / News Desk

Experts speaking to Anadolu Agency have said South Africa is entering a new era of coalition politics after the ruling African National Congress (ANC) lost significant support in recent municipal elections.

The ruling party saw a serious decline in its urban vote during the Aug. 3 polls.

Andre Duvenhage, politics professor at North West University, said it will be difficult for the ANC – which has enjoyed majority rule since the dawn of democracy in 1994 – to regain its lost support. 

“Coalition governments will most likely become a permanent feature in our politics. We should expect to see more coalitions in the 2019 national elections,” he said on Thursday. 

Duvenhage said he believes it will be difficult for a single political party to reproduce majority governments, such as ANC previously could.

The ANC, which had won support for nearly two decades for its role in ending white minority rule, is being forced to negotiate with opposition parties to form coalitions for the first time.

On Aug. 3, the ANC lost control of the capital Pretoria and the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality to the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA).

In Pretoria the DA polled 43.1 percent of the vote versus the ANC’S 41.5 percent. In Mandela Bay the DA secured 46.7 percent of the vote compared to the ANC’s 40.1 percent.

The ANC, once led by the late global icon Nelson Mandela, also lost its grip on the city of Johannesburg, the country’s main economic hub, getting only 45 percent of the vote, while the DA polled 38 percent which will help it to form a coalition government.

The leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) which got 11.6 percent of the vote in Pretoria and nearly 10 percent in Johannesburg has a prominent position as kingmaker in helping either the DA or ANC form a coalition government to run Johannesburg.

Political commentator, Professor Shadrack Gutto, told Anadolu Agency on Thursday: “The period has arrived in South Africa where no political party should feel that it has a right over the voters. It’s a turning point in our political history.”

He said if the ANC did not deliver services and correct its past mistakes then it will likely lose more support in the 2019 national polls.

Despite losing major municipalities, the ANC won nationally with 53.91 percent of the vote. The DA trailed at 26.9 percent, followed by the EFF with 8.19 percent.

Professor Duvenhage says coalition talks to govern the city of Johannesburg got off to a rocky start this week between the ANC and the EFF.

“The EFF told the ANC they would support them only if they told [President Jacob] Zuma to resign,” he said, adding “this was a difficult condition”.

Coalition talks have now become the focus of attention with the public waiting to hear how negotiations between the political parties will work out.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 11 Ağustos 2016, 16:50