For the African National Congress (ANC), the 2021 local government elections will be a sobering experience, whether or not the ruling party retains control of the majority of municipalities.
ANC perfomance record in municipal elections
Ramaphosa’s ascension to power ruptured relations within the ANC’s structures. The infamous CR17 bank statements are still a hot topic in political corridors, and interest in uncovering the faces behind the president’s rise to power is still very high.
Conspiracies have plagued Ramaphosa’s first term in office but he, in his capacity as a member of the ANC, is not the focal aspect in this year’s municipal elections.
This time around, 4 937 candidate councillors, handpicked by the party’s hierarchy, will be under intense scrutiny in the days leading up to Election Day.
A 25% youth representation in its candidate list, along with 46% females, is Ramaphosa’s display of bringing “greater energy and innovation to local government.”
“The selection of ANC candidates for these local government elections is an important moment for the renewal of our movement. Our structures have been very firm, removing those with criminal records from our candidate lists and seeking to place capability above popularity,” Ramaphosa wrote.
The ANC will hope to retain its streak of outright-to-majority wins at municipal elections with this renewed approach.
Here is a look at how the party has performed at the polls since the start of local government elections:
|2000||10 248 810||59.39%|
|2006||12 784 494||64.82%|
|2011||16 548 970||61.95%|
|2016||16 099 189||53.91%|
2021 Elections: Key metros for the EFF
After the blunder of 2016’s municipal elections, where a coalition government saw the ANC lose its grasp on the City of Johannesburg and Tshwane, the ruling party will be wary about the lingering threat of the Democratic Alliance (DA) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in key battleground metros.
Moreover, rampant corruption and maladministration continue to threaten the ANC’s hold on power in municipalities where, in the past, they’ve enjoyed outright control.
Recently, the Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality made headlines after a stadium project that cost the public office R22 million was linked to corruption. The sports field, supposedly developed with an expenditure budget of R15 million, is under investigation for possible graft between the municipality and construction firm Thalami Civils.
This Eastern Cape municipality, along with others where service delivery protests have recently broken out, will be prime hunting grounds for opposition parties looking to dethrone the ANC.
These are the key battleground municipalities for the ANC in the 2021 local government elections:
- City of Johannesburg
- City of Tshwane
- Buffalo City
- Nelson Mandela Bay
- City of Cape Town
2021 Elections: Here’s the party’s manifesto
While statistics from previous showings suggest that the ANC is favourite to emerge triumphant at the polls, the party still has a long way to go with restoring faith in the hearts of its supporters.
In the face of repeated cases of corruption linked to many of its high-ranking officials, and ongoing internal wars threatening the party’s stability, the ANC will know that this is one of the last few chances it has to act on its promises.
Regarding the latter, Ramaphosa has fielded revised manifesto ideals ahead of the municipal elections. The ANC, for the umpteenth time, has vowed to make drastic improvements in
- water supply and sewerage maintenance;
- stabilising Eskom;
- fast-tracking land reform and rural development;
- rooting out corruption and incompetence at municipalities;
- making municipal land available for food gardens and keeping prices below inflation;
- fighting corruption within party structures;
- strengthen municipal finances; and
- delivering necessary basic free services to every South African household.