Record number of hung municipalities kick off coalition discussions

After a doubling of the number of hung municipalities this year since 2016's local government elections, coalition discussions are beginning ahead of the declaration of the municipal polls outcomes.

Independent Electoral Committee members at the national results centre. Picture: Abigail Javier/AFP

PRETORIA - Political bartering has started as the country hits a record number of hung municipalities after a local government election. At least 52 municipalities will need coalitions - double the number of 27 after the 2016 municipal polls.

In some municipalities, the African National Congress (ANC) lost support to breakaway parties, while in others residents' organisation scored big.

ALSO READ: SA's list of hung municipalities so far

The Western Cape has the lion's share of hung municipalities, standing at 16. This is seen as a massive rejection of the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the smaller municipalities outside of Cape Town. New parties, such as the Patriotic Alliance, Good and other community parties, will be kingmakers in that province.

The country’s economic hub, Gauteng, has five hung municipalities excluding the metros. So far, Lesedi municipality is the only one where the ANC has won by majority - over 50% - but the seat allocation has left the party with 13 seats and opposition parties have equally received an accumulative 13 seats.

It is the first time that Mpumalanga - traditionally an ANC stronghold - has two municipalities where the ANC was pushed below 50%. Lekwa Local Community Forum has emerged as the second biggest party in the area with 19.43%, while in Steve Tshwete municipality, the ANC has declined to 36.85%, followed by the DA and Economic Freedom Fighters.

In Free State, ANC breakaway party Map16 pushed the ANC below 50% in Maluti-a-Phofung, where President Cyril Ramaphosa campaigned hard. No party has a governing majority in Metsimaholo and Moqhaka.

In Kwa-Zulu Natal, there are six hung municipalities, with the National Freedom Party dominating in eDumbe with 33.54% and the Inkatha Freedom Party is dominating in eMadlangeni.