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Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress has conceded its most important stronghold

A man casts his ballot during South Africa’s local government elections in KwaMashu, north of Durban, South Africa.
By Lily Kuo
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

The party of Nelson Mandela was dealt a major blow during municipal elections in South Africa this week. Although the African National Congress is leading nationally, the ANC has conceded a major stronghold, the municipality of Nelson Mandela Bay.

With 95% of the polls counted, the ANC has won 54% of the national vote, its worst performance since being elected after helping end apartheid in 1994. In Nelson Mandela Bay, the party won 41% of the vote, compared to the Democratic Alliance’s 47%.

South African politics may now be entering an era of coalition politics. In Nelson Mandela Bay, the DA is in talks with smaller parties to form a coalition government to run what has long been an ANC stronghold.

Neither party is expected to win a majority in the capital, Pretoria, or the economic hub of Johannesburg where results have yet to be announced. The final vote is expected to be announced on Saturday (Aug 6).

The ANC is faced with a struggling economy and has suffered corruption scandals under its current president Jacob Zuma. Its loss suggests the party can no longer depend on the vote of black South Africans. The Democratic Alliance’s support base has traditionally been mixed and white South Africans.

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