July 1, 2022

The Political Chronicle

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High risk municipal elections for ANC

More than 26 million South Africans began voting for municipal elections on Monday morning in a tricky way, with the ANC, the party in power since the end of apartheid, likely to go below 50 for the first time. % Of votes.

Polling stations opened at 0500 GMT. Of the 250 municipalities with a voting age of about 40 million, only 26.2 million South Africans are registered to elect their representatives.

The African National Congress, the historic party of Nelson Mandela, who ruled South Africa since the end of apartheid 27 years ago, has been in decline for years.

Many leaders and former President Jacob Zuma have been accused of looting the country’s treasury and are in serious trouble over the law, while unemployment in the already recession-hit economy before the Govt-19 crisis has reached a record high of 30%. .

“The leaders of the ANC have not kept their promises, they are making many empty promises,” said Samuel Mahloul, 55, who was in line with only twenty people in front of a polling station in Soweto. The Uber driver, a father of four, says he has voted since the first democratic election in 1994, but is now demanding “change.”

The same desire prevails in Danville, a suburb of Pretoria, the capital of the white middle class. Charmaine Bernard, 57, told AFP: “I promise change in the country and a better life for all.

In July, the country experienced waves of riots and looting, which killed more than 350 people. Triggered by Zuma’s imprisonment, but a sign of a tense social and economic environment.

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The army has been stationed in urban centers for the elections, especially with 10,000 troops being called in to strengthen police presence in the provinces of Gauteng, where Johannesburg and Pretoria are located, and in KwaZulu-Natal (eastern), where the July riots began. And were very vicious.

– Water, Electricity –

Over the years, mismanagement and widespread corruption have led to the abandonment of many public services in South Africa, increasing power and water supplies and affecting even the election campaign.

Polls suggest a majority of voters may leave the ANC for the first time.

“We can be a turning point for the ANC and a turning point for South Africa,” said William Comet, chairman of the Democratic Works Think Tank.

Throughout the campaign, ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa repeatedly told voters to “clean up the party.” He has turned the fight against corruption into a job.

During the 2016 municipal elections, the ANC recorded its worst score (54%) and lost major cities including Pretoria and Johannesburg.

Opposition parties, however, are divided. The Democratic Alliance (DA), still considered a party of whites, and the far left of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), which was able to form impossible alliances in some municipalities five years ago, will present themselves this time in a scattered line.

Voters will also get the choice of an unprecedented number of independent candidates – 1,700 out of 60,000 who will be a mess in the ANC’s large-scale poll before the 2024 general election.