On Monday, the country will head to the polls. South Africans will cast their vote in the 2021 Municipal Elections. While some of the main metros look sure to remain under their current political party’s governance (Cape Town is one example), it seems that three metros are particularly up for grabs this week.
They are Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape, as well as Johannesburg and Tshwane in Gauteng.
Municipal Elections 2021: Who will get the most votes?
Before looking at the three metros, let’s take a closer look at how the country voted during the last municipal elections in 2016.
The ANC saw a massive drop to just 53% of the vote nationally. The DA recorded its highest-ever figure of 26%. And the EFF racked up an impressive 8% in the party’s first-ever local government election.
While the ANC faltered at the time under Jacob Zuma and the DA shone under Mmusi Maimane and its various mayoral candidates, a lot has changed in 5 years.
City of Johannesburg
2016 saw the ANC lose its majority in the metro. Then DA member Herman Mashab became mayor. The problem for the DA now? Herman Mashaba is still very much around, but he isn’t with the DA anymore…
The DA managed to make its coalition in the city work, thanks to a voting agreement with the EFF. Once that fell to pieces, it lost control of the metro. The ANC’s Mpho Moerane is currently the man in charge.
So with the DA now saying no to ANY coalitions or arrangements with the EFF, the blue party also has a big problem in ActionSA. The party led by Herman Mashaba could be the kingmakers in the metro. And is expected to perform well and eat into DA votes.
So what about problems for the ANC? The party is facing backlash over its operation of City Power. Just before the elections, City Power claimed that it had secured private power plant energy to be able to avoid Stage 1 and 2 of load-shedding. Eskom said, not so fast.
The huge power problems in the metro (often 4 hours or more of blackouts) could be key in pushing voters away from the ANC.
City of Tshwane
In 2016, the DA gained a plurality in the metro council. This means that while no one got a 50% +1 majority, the DA secured the largest number of votes. At the time, the DA took home just 2% more than the ANC. Solly Msimanga was then swon in as mayor.
While the DA still has a mayor in the metro, Randall Williams, the musical chairs with its mayors over the years have not helped the party.
ActionSA is also strong in Tshwane and the role of other new parties could be key here in seeing the DA’s 2% slip away.
Nelson Mandela Bay
Lastly, we turn to Nelson Mandela Bay. This has been the focus of the DA’s campaign going into these elections. The party is adamant that it can and needs to secure a 50% +1 majority.
The DA also currently governs the metro, after regaining mayoral control at the end of last year. It lost control after its agreement with the EFF and UDM fell though. That led to the UDM’s late Mongameli Bobani taking the top job. This week, his widow joined the ANC.
The DA’s Athol Trollip is no longer with the party and Nqaba Bhanga is now the mayor. In 2016, the DA was just 4 seats short of a majority.
With Nelson Mandela Bay being the best chance for the DA to secure its first metro majority outside of Cape Town, it is still going to be a tough ask.
According to polls from the metro, the ANC and DA are said to be neck and neck.