For the first time in the democratic history, the majority of voters in South Africa have turned against the ruling African National Congress in municipal elections.
The ANC received 46% of national votes, down from 54% in the previous municipal elections five years earlier.
Widespread corruption, persistently high rates of unemployment, crippling power blackouts and ineffective delivery of government services were burning campaign issues.
In results announced Thursday night, the ANC saw an erosion of its support and as a result will control fewer councils and have fewer mayors in big and small cities across the country.
Not only did voters not support the ANC, most did not bother to vote. Although voting day was declared a public holiday, turnout was 47% of registered voters, more than 10% lower than in previous elections.
“There’s so much corruption and… there’s nothing being, 27 years down the line, they’re still using apartheid as an excuse. It’s not on. I mean hopefully this is a totally wake up call to get their house in order,” said Ivan Govender, Restaurant owner.
“I think people still have that thing for the ANC you see, they brought us where we are now. So if they can fix their mistakes, the corruption, he can still win… Or anyone in the ANC for that matter, ” added Thobile Khumalo, a store staff.