What if the May election results applied to local government – a clear victory for the African National Congress (ANC) at municipal level in May election?

The election held on May 8 was for seats in the National Assembly and the nine provincial legislatures. The election returns nevertheless reflect voting trends at municipal and even ward level.

Had the results applied to municipalities then the ANC would have emerged dominant by winning all but 30 of the 213 local and metropolitan municipalities.

The ANC emerged as the biggest political party in 86% of local administrations.

In 76% of municipalities the ANC got more than half the votes cast and would be able to govern on their own.

In the other 21 instances the ANC would have to have to enter into a coalition to form the local government.

The ANC obtained more than 50% of the votes in Johannesburg but fell slightly short of that tally in Tshwane. Hypothetically the ANC would have displaced the current Democratic Alliance (DA) led coalition in Johannesburg.

The DA obtained a clear majority in 13 municipalities and emerged as the biggest party in another nine (albeit with less than 50% of the votes).

Almost all of the DA wins were in the Western Cape. The DA obtained most votes (but less than the 50% required to govern) in Gauteng’s Midvaal Local Municipality. While the DA obtained more votes than their closest rival (the ANC) they received only 41% of the votes cast.

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) got a clear majority in four municipalities and emerged as the biggest party (without a majority) in another three. Successes for the IFP included Nkandla Local Municipality where it obtained 53% of the votes cast. All of the IFP’s wins were in KwaZulu-Natal.

The only other party to ‘win’ any municipality was ICOSA. Although they obtained only 37% of the votes ICOSA emerged as the biggest political party in Kannaland (Western Cape). No other party, including the EFF, won any  municipality.

Compared to national elections voter turnout in local government elections tends to be low. The lower turnout also ends to correspond to slightly lower support for the ruling party. Examining political party support patterns at municipal and ward level reveals voter preferences.

This said, voting patterns in local government elections often differ significantly from what is derived from national elections.