Ramaphosa Optimistic About Polls as ANC Struggles to Retain Majority

Ramaphosa Optimistic About Polls as ANC Struggles to Retain Majority (News Central TV)

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) hopes to avert its worst result since the end of white minority rule as South Africans across the country vote in municipal elections on Monday.

The general atmosphere of dissatisfaction and surveys predict that the ANC’s vote share may fall below 50% for the first time since the end of apartheid.

President Cyril Ramaphosa remains popular after mobilising government grants that prevented COVID-19 from becoming a hunger crisis. But lasting poverty, crumbling infrastructure and growing unemployment may impact the fortune of the ruling party which has retained power for 27 years.

Ramaphosa cast his vote at the Hitekeni Primary School voting station in Chiawelo.

Ramaphosa acknowledged that many voters were not happy, but called on them to support the party so it could improve. The President expressed this conviction after casting his vote at the Hitekeni Primary School voting station in Chiawelo.

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After voting in Soweto, he expressed optimism over the outcome, he added that “this is the one election where we are clearly saying to our people we are going to do better…We’ve realised that we’ve not always met the aspirations of our people.”

The ANC hopes to win back metropolitan areas it lost to opposition-led coalitions in 2016, including in Johannesburg and Pretoria, when its 54% vote share was its worst since coming to power.  

Herman Mashaba’s ActionSA after a campaign tour

Some ANC supporters say reversing decades of apartheid-era neglect in Black neighbourhoods was never going to be a quick fix. But it has also been dogged by corruption scandals.

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In spite of widespread discontent, the ANC’s emotional hold on poor, Black townships remains strong, even among young voters with no living memory of apartheid.

IEC Chairperson Glen Mashinini gives an update on the progress of Local Municipal Elections

Other parties include the Democratic Alliance(DA) led by John Steenhuisen, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) led by Julius Malema and Herman Mashaba’s ActionSA. Mashaba has been branded a xenophobe because of his populist rhetoric against illegal immigrants, accusations he has denied yet refuses to tone down.

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