In South Africa’s local elections, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) suffered a historic defeat in Tshwane municipality, which is home to the country’s administrative capital Pretoria, to the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA). The electoral commission said Saturday that the DA, the main opposition party in South Africa, won 43 percent of the vote in Tshwane.
The ANC won 41 percent of the votes, the commission said based on the final results. The defeat marks a sharp decline in the popularity of the ANC, which once led the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. On Friday, the ruling party conceded defeat in Port Elizabeth, a key battleground of the elections. The defeat was viewed a humiliating blow for the ANC in Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality, known for its history which depicts it as a hotbed of anti-apartheid activism.
The ANC remains South Africa’s top party at the national level. The party has taken less than 54 percent of the votes, a plunge of eight points from 2011. Reports said more than 58 percent turned out at the ballot boxes as key posts were contested, including positions for mayors and other local representatives responsible for hot-button issues including water, sanitation and power supplies.
People have staged protests, some of them violent, over the past year demanding an end to problems in providing the basic services. South Africa still struggles to cope with harsh socio-economic divisions that remain as a grim legacy of the apartheid era.