Posted on :
20 May, 2011
20 May, 2011
JOHANNESBURG — As votes were being counted yesterday in South Africa’s local elections, the governing African National Congress was once again steamrolling to victory, although not at its usual pace.
With 90 percent of votes in, the ANC was ahead with 62 percent, down slightly from the 66 percent it won in the 2006 local elections, according to the South African Press Association. And the party in second place, the Democratic Alliance, had raised its tally to 22 percent from 15 percent.
Some commentators were calling the results a breakthrough for the Democratic Alliance, which many black South Africans consider a white people’s party.
“The DA has cracked, if not broken, the white ceiling,’’ a political analyst, Allister Sparks, said on eNews, the South African all-news television channel.
Ballots were still being counted in many of the nation’s 278 municipalities, and official results will not be announced until today or tomorrow. But both leading parties had reasons to cheer — and lament.
The Democratic Alliance not only solidified its position as the leading opposition party, but it also fortified its hold in Western Cape Province, where it handily won Cape Town and added several other municipalities to its control.
Helen Zille, the Democratic Alliance leader, is the premier of the Western Cape, the only one of South Africa’s nine provinces without a black majority.
In the run-up to Wednesday’s vote, Zille tried to expand the party’s reach, campaigning in black townships considered to be ANC strongholds.
The Democratic Alliance also hoped to win the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality in the Eastern Cape. A win there would have given it control of another of the nation’s major cities.
But the ANC held off the challenge, getting 52 percent of the vote.
And during a time of widespread protests about the failure of government to provide services to the poor, the ANC managed to maintain the loyalty of most constituencies.
Source: New York Times