New chapter begins for local govt after polls produce surprising results

With the elections declared free and fair, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said that the African National Congress (ANC) still dominated in the country’s 213 municipalities, having achieved a majority in 161 of them.

IEC CEO Sy Mamabolo at the national election results centre in Pretoria on 4 November 2021. Picture: Boikhutso Ntsoko/Eyewitness News.

PRETORIA - South Africa’s local government begins a new chapter, with the 2021 local government elections producing surprises.

With the elections declared free and fair, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said that the African National Congress (ANC) still dominated in the country’s 213 municipalities, having achieved a majority in 161 of them.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) remains the main opposition with a majority in 13 municipalities.

READ MORE: 5 key points from the local govt election results

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) also bagged a majority in 10 municipalities – all in KwaZulu-Natal.

The number of hung municipalities has more than doubled from the 2016 figure, ushering in a record number of coalitions on the cards.

Gauteng has the highest rate of hung councils, which include all three of its metros and five out of its six municipalities.

There are 19 in KwaZulu-Natal, 15 in the Eastern Cape and Limpopo has the fewest, with only two hung municipalities.

ALSO READ: 2021 local govt elections: Full list of hung municipalities in SA

Ahead of the political bartering, President Cyril Ramaphosa appealed to leaders to work together to improve the state of local government.

"The manner in which our people spoke should be indicative of their wish to have us as leaders working together," he said. "I want to repeat this: If we are to make this a new and better era, we as leaders must put aside our differences and work together in a spirit of partnership, of cooperation, of collaboration and common purpose in the interests of the people of South Africa."

South Africans weary of unstable coalition governments are hoping that the boardroom politics will improve neglected municipalities.

WATCH: Ramaphosa: Let us work as one for a SA of equality and shared prosperity