Politics

Cooperatives between local governments with (out) agreement.

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A report on SA’s 2021 local elections and coalitions launched

Voters wait to queue in Khayelitsha to cast their local elections. Image: ESA Alexander.

On the 1st of November, 2021, SA had its 6th round in municipal polls since the beginning of the democratic period. These elections, which took place 27 years after the start of South African multiparty democracy, showed remarkable declines in the participation levels in general.

The Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA), in collaboration along with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung SA, recently released a report entitled”When Wedding Bells Ring: Coalitions with an (out) agreement: An analysis of the SA’s local elections in 2021 and coalitions during an event called Business Day DialoguesLIVE.

The event was led by Prof. Susan Booysen, director of research at MISTRA, and a renowned panel comprising Professor Mcebisi from the department of politics and international relations section at the University of Johannesburg; Advocate Jennica Beukes, doctoral researcher and research assistant at the Dullah Omar Institute; Wandile Ngcaweni who is a junior research assistant at MISTRA as well as Amuzweni Ngoma, a researcher at MISTRA.

The report, released in political turmoil, where parties are losing their power, extends beyond the 1st of November. It examines the change of the electoral mandates in local government and the increase in the number of councils with hung parliaments that require the formation of coalitions.

MISTRA Director Joel Netshitenzhe noted that the election result reveals many positive trends in aggregate and sub-national levels. These include the ANC dropping below the 50% mark at the national level and its performance below 40 percent across every Gauteng Metropolitan council.

The other two largest parties, including the DA and the EFF, have mixed showing. The dynamics revealed in this election could indicate changes to the political landscape over the next few years, according to Netshitenzhe.

He wondered if these elections could signify future events in the 2024 general elections and beyond. “There were many elements that made the elections of 2021, such as the timing and the Covid-19 virus as well as the parties’ access to resources, and the lengthy weekend, to name a few. However, macrosocial factors like the economic state as well as service availability as well as corruption have had a huge impact on the results.”

Whether these local elections were an indicator of the future on three levels: the particularities of this election, macrosocial trends, such as an expansion of the economy and services, and, lastly, how the parties tackle particular issues that are unique to their respective parties.

This second subject concerns how ANC manages internal divisions and corruption, how the DA defines its identity on the concept of liberalism in an unjust society, and how EFF positions itself concerning its tendency to use dramatic and hyperbole. The main challenge facing actions and the IFP will be presenting themselves. IFP and actions will be in how they present themselves both in the government and in opposition and how they deal with any organizational challenges within their organization.

In his final comments, Dr. Yacoob Omar, director of operations at MISTRA, stated that the lessons from the coalitions formed after the local elections in 2021 are important for every political party to consider when they are preparing for the next general elections.

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