Members of the African National Congress (ANC) and of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) gather at the National stayaway protest at the Fitzgerald square in Johannesburg to protest the countrys economic policies, wages, as well as high unemployment rates on October 7, 2021. (Photo by EMMANUEL CROSET / AFP) (Photo by EMMANUEL CROSET/AFP via Getty Images)

THE African National Congress is unlikely to win a majority in Johannesburg, the nation’s largest city, or the capital Pretoria in forthcoming municipal elections, a News24 poll showed.

The ANC’s support in Johannesburg could fall to 41% if half of eligible voters turn out for the Nov. 1 elections, News24 reported, citing the poll it commissioned. The main opposition Democratic Alliance would get 25%. The ANC received 45% in the 2016 elections, and the DA 38%.

In Tshwane, which includes Pretoria, the ANC would get 46% and the DA 26%.

The polling suggests coalitions will need to be formed to run Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni, the third-largest metropolitan area in Gauteng province, the nation’s economic hub. The DA looks set to retain control of Cape Town with slightly reduced support.

A poor showing for the ANC in Johannesburg or Tshwane would be a blow to President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is trying to regain the confidence of voters after years of corruption-prone governance under his predecessor Jacob Zuma.

The outcome in key cities could be a pointer of how voters are likely to express themselves at the next general election in 2024, according to Ralph Mathekga, an independent political analyst.

“The ANC is clearly on the back foot and they are expecting a loss,” Mathekga said by phone. “They are at their weakest point and it means that they are going to get even weaker. It tells a lot of what’s coming at the next national elections.”

While the ANC has governed South Africa nationally since the country’s first multiracial elections in 1994, it hemorrhaged support in the last municipal vote five years ago in a backlash against Zuma’s rule. It lost control of Johannesburg and Tshwane in 2016, though it has since regained power in the former.

The polling done by Victory Research on behalf of News24 sampled 1,824 registered voters between Oct. 4 and Oct. 15, with a margin of error of 2.3%.

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