2016 Election Update
EISA's 2016 Election Update, focused on the imminent South African local government elections, takes the form of a blog that will include timelines, articles and maps. This continues a tradition of providing South African Elections Updates since 1999 in an innovative way.
Who set the news agenda and how they got away with it during the 2016 municipal elections in South Africa?
Wellington Radu, Media Monitoring Africa | 9 September 2016
On 3 August 2016 South Africa held its fifth municipal elections since the dawn of democracy in 1994. On the media front, these elections came at a time when media in South Africa were facing many challenges ranging from failing business models to lack of resources, newsrooms staffed by inexperienced staff with a poor grasp of the municipal arena, and specifically a poor grasp of the local government political and electoral system. The challenges saw media workers and media outlets being expected to do more - with very little resources, experience or assistance from media owners.
Victory for Opposition Coalition Signifies South African Democratic Gains in Nelson Mandela Bay
Giovanni Poggi (Lecturer, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University) | 9 September 2016
As the country and the African National Congress (ANC) sifts through the settling dust of the latest local government election season, there has perhaps been much more for politicians and civil society to reflect upon than ever before. The ANC, resting on its past laurels, managed to drag itself across the finishing line as the overall winner in terms of the aggregate overall statistics, and the local wards captured. Tellingly, however the embattled ruling party lost control of key metropolitans along the way, including Tshwane, the City of Johannesburg and Nelson Mandel Bay.
South Africa Local Government Election 2016: A Three-Layer Extrapolation for 2019 - Mining the depth & scope of ANC decline
Nathan Dufour and Richard Calland | 6 September 2016
There has been much debate about the extent of, and the reasons for, the ANC's 'bad result' in the 'game-changing' August 2016 local government election. This article takes a different angle in evaluating the result from an ANC perspective, and reaches a distinctive conclusion.
Elections 2016 - Consolidation, Continuity and Change. What next?
Ebrahim Fakir and Elnari Potgieter | 2 September 2016
The 2016 elections usher in a new era of 'substantive uncertainty'. No party can now take for granted voter allegiances. This is a win for voters. But it is the outcomes of the election that provide the most compelling story. Any search for a catch all -grand narrative emerging from this election however, is likely to be no narrative at all. What this election tells, is a story of significant specificity and diversity across different spatial areas emerging. It is a combined story of continuity, consolidation and change.
The Enigma of Rural Politics: A Puzzle for All Political Parties
Mosa Phadi, Joel Pearson and Thomas Lesaffre; Public Affairs Research Institute (PARI) | 2 September 2016
The recent election results have led some to argue that the African National Congress (ANC) is transforming into a rural-based party. Analysts see the ANC's immense losses in the metros as an indication that the party's stronghold is shifting to semi-urban and rural areas. Yet even a superficial glance at the election results calls this into question.
The Battle for the Bay - What happened in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro in the 2016 Local Government Elections?
Sithembile Mbete - Political Studies; University of Pretoria | 30 August 2016
Before the election ANC had a precarious hold on power in the municipality with a small majority. In 2011 local government election the ANC won 52.13 percent of the vote, as compared to 66.85 percent in 2006. The DA won 40.2 per cent in 2011 compared to 25 per cent in 2006. In the run up to 2016, the DA's goal was to win the municipality outright, by capitalising on both the implosion of COPE as a viable party and on the deep factionalism within the ANC.
City of Cape Town post-elections analysis
Paul Berkowitz | 23 August 2016
The City of Cape Town metro was once a fiercely contested battleground. From 2007 onwards the DA has cemented its majority in Cape Town, from leading a stable coalition in 2007 to winning an outright majority in the metro in the 2011 elections. The party's share of the vote grew from 61 percent in 2011 to 67 percent in 2016. The decline of the ANC and some observed trends of the smaller parties in the metros are illustrated with graphs and maps.
How did the main parties do in the 2016 municipal elections? ANC, DA and EFF in numbers
Vito Laterza and Stephan van Wyk | 23 August 2016
The results of the municipal elections held on 3rd August have sent shockwaves throughout South Africa. The symbolic impact of the victories of the DA in Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay, as well as the ANC dipping below 50% of poll support in Johannesburg, has been significant. But how bad was the hit for the ANC? And what can we say about the DA's growth, and the performance of the EFF?
Tshwane: When factionalism leads to fracture. Is the ANC's decline in the Metro due to a voter stay-away or changing voter support?
Ebrahim Fakir and Elnari Potgieter | 18 August 2016
The ANC's own members and core support base in Tshwane did not accept what they viewed as the imposition of a "neutral" or compromise candidate as Mayor nominee. They suggested that they would "punish the ANC" through a "stay-away" from the polls or for voting for an opposition party. However, the picture that emerges from analysis is more nuanced: Though there was a stay away in Tshwane - its impact has been overstated.
Navigating Gwede's Fog
Daryl Glaser, Deparment of Political Studies, University of the Witwatersrand; Johannesburg | 12 August 2016
No one is fooled. When ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe complains that the local government voting system has been unfair to the ANC, we know that what he is actually doing - he is making excuses for the fact that the ANC has lost absolute political control in crucial metropolitan municipalities. If that's just being a sore loser, more sinister is his threat to change the voting system to one that enables the ANC to do better.
Johannesburg: The ANC Council as an Innocent Victim?
Dr Ivor Sarakinsky, School of Governance. University of the Witwatersrand | 11 August 2016
The 2016 Municipal Election has delivered a cruel outcome to the incumbent ANC City Council Leadership. Higher credit ratings, and good performance in city management according to several different international benchmarks, improved management and administrative efficiencies introduced over the previous term and yet, the Mayor and his Committee may well be out of office should a coalition between the ANC and other parties fail to materialise. A cruel fate indeed.
Coalitions outside the metros
Paul Berkowitz | 10 August 2016
All the buzz and hubbub is around the four metros where coalitions will be needed (Nelson Mandela Bay, Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni) but there are another 23 municipalities with no clear winners.
After the Party: The ANC missed the many varieties of the urban voter
Ebrahim Fakir and Elnari Potgieter | The Daily Vox | 6 August 2016
The voting patterns of Nelson Mandela Bay and Tshwane enjoyed much attention this election season. Much of the focus has been on declines in ANC support in relation to support of opposition parties. This, of course, comes after incremental but sustained declines in ANC support since the 2006 local and 2009 national elections. This was consolidated in the 2016 Local Government elections where ANC voters largely stayed away (a stern rebuke to the ANC in itself).
How does this 'PR top-up' system of voting work?
Paul Berkowitz | 5 August 2016
At the time of writing this, the Nelson Mandela Bay metro results are hanging in the balance, but most of the ward vote has already been declared. Of the 60 wards in the metro, 34 have been called for the ANC, 21 for the DA and 5 still are undecided. Despite the ANC's strong lead in the ward seats, the DA has almost half of the total votes while the ANC has around 40 percent of the vote. How does this system work?
The false dichotomy between interest (rationality) & Identity
Aubrey Matshiqi | 28 July 2016
One of the battles that are amongst the most difficult to win relates to the attempt to convince political observers that voter preferences are not reducible to a single factor or consideration. What we end up with, is a political discourse that lacks appreciation for complexity and something which makes it easier for dominant interests in to reproduce 'dominant' views.
Nelson Mandela Bay: The Most Politically Contested Metro in South Africa
Giovanni Poggi, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University | 27 July 2016
There is mild anxiety drifting in the air in Nelson Mandela Bay. This unease might not exceed the discontent shown in protests over the failures of service delivery, but it is tangible. Nelson Mandela Bay has reached a critical juncture and most of its inhabitants are wondering: who will lead us after the 3rd of August?
Beaufort West and the ANC's choice of mayoral candidate (Truman Prince) - opportunity for opposition, or continuation of a controversial legacy?
Elnari Potgieter | 28 July 2016
Truman Prince, the controversial mayor of Beaufort West, has been nominated by the ANC as its Beaufort West mayoral candidate, in spite serious misconduct, moral, ethical and governance failure - which include among others - writing a letter asking for tenders to be awarded to companies supporting of the ANC, being caught on camera approaching a 14-year-old girl for sex, as well as assaulting a petrol station cashier.
2016 Municipal Elections - Where do the parties stand amongst registered voters?
Daniel Moody and Washeelah Kapery, Citizen Surveys with Professor Robert Mattes, University of Cape Town | 26 July 2016
With only a few days until South Africans go to the polls for the 2016 Local Government Elections, the contest for the votes of South Africans has reached fever pitch. Following a continuing trend of weakening electoral support since the 2004 election, the ANC, according to the latest data from the South African Citizens Survey, is set to continue to lose political support.
Tshwane Burning: The ANC and Opposition Support in the Capital - Is 2016 a turning point?
Elnari Potgieter and Ebrahim Fakir | 26 July 2016
Just over a month before the 2016 local government election, following the announcement of the ANC's mayoral candidate, Tshwane residents "took to the streets" in protest against the announcement that the current mayor - Kgosientso Ramokgopa - would be replaced. In certain areas protests turned violent - with some areas being affected by the looting of shops, burning of busses and trucks, barricaded streets , journalists threatened and attacked, and five deaths - as the unrest spread.
The History that Fuels Local Government Violence
Joel Pearson, Thomas Lesaffre and Mosa Phadi - Public Affairs Research Institute (PARI) | 18 July 2016
Political assassinations, rising protests and burning buildings have made news headlines with the approaching local government elections. Media commentary has largely focused on the surface causes of violence: competition over the nomination of mayors and councillors and the lucrative opportunities that these positions offer.
Election Observation - Combatting Conflict and Violence in KwaZulu-Natal
Paul Kariuki, Democracy Development Programme (DDP) | 18 July 2016
KwaZulu-Natal has been particularly prone to political intolerance and violence. In 2016, the line between factional intra-political party conflict and violence, and inter- political party violence, has become blurred and often indistinguishable. The KwaZulu Natal Civil Society Coalition was formed to promote cooperation and coordination amongst CSOs and so to contribute to a climate of relative calm and stability.
The Battle for Nelson Mandela Bay is within the ANC
Ryan Brunette, Bronwyn Kotzen, Mahlatse Rampedi and Tatenda Mukwedeya | 14 July 2016
The 3 August 2016 local government elections have brought national attention to Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality. The ruling ANC is sitting on only 62 of that Council's 120 seats, rendering the Municipality electorally competitive and a political battleground. Many commentators, including local academic Joleen Steyn-Kotze have suggested that the often-labelled 'battle for Nelson Mandela Bay' may amount to "the ANC's waterloo". Extending the military metaphors, being outside the demographically distinct Western Cape it seems set to form a beachhead from where other local governments could fall, with the potential to scale-up to the national sphere.
Nelson Mandela Bay: Trends in Voter Turnout and Political Party Support Patterns
Elnari Potgieter, Paul Berkowitz and Ebrahim Fakir | 14 July 2016
Declining voter turnout, voter apathy or a voter stay-away - has been said to have a possible negative effect on results for the ANC: Support for political parties and voter participation can be investigated by looking at past patterns that may offer clues to support patterns prior to the 2016 election.
Oversight and accountability mechanisms
EISA | 14 July 2014
South Africa has a sound legal and regulatory process governing elections. The legal and regulatory system In every part of the electoral process creates a space for the participation of all electoral stakeholders and especially creates the political space and opportunity for voters, political parties and candidates to exercise their rights and dispense with their obligations in an environment conducive to free and fair elections. Robust mechanisms of oversight and accountability are built in to the process, with well-established conflict resolution mechanisms:
- The Electoral Court, a specialist court and the highest authority on matters relating to elections, was constituted to facilitate the rapid resolution of stakeholder disputes.
- The Independent Electoral Commission that conducts elections is composed through a process that facilitates the independence, impartiality and professionalism of its members.
- An Electoral Code of Conduct aimed at promoting "conditions that are conducive to free and fair elections" and that create a climate of tolerance, free campaigning and open public debate is in force.
- EMB relations with stakeholder are facilitated through Party Liaison Committee structures, which further enhance transparency and assist in defusing conflict.
- Party and candidate agents play a critical role in ensuring that elections are properly conducted, in minimizing electoral fraud and ensuring electoral integrity, and in allaying suspicions of fraud and so contributing to acceptance of the results.
How much will we (and the ANC) miss the NFP?
Paul Berkowitz | 6 July 2016
Barring some kind of miracle, the National Freedom Party (NFP) isn't going to be contesting the upcoming municipal elections. It's an ignoble end to the party's 2016 campaign and it's quite possibly the end of the party as a regional force in northern KwaZulu-Natal. All available information suggests that the party has been in decline since it contested the 2011 municipal elections.
Northern Cape boundary changes and vulnerable municipalities
Paul Berkowitz | 6 June 2016
There's only one merger in the Northern Cape but there are many municipalities that hang in the balance in the largest province in South Africa: 17 of the 27 local municipalities have a council majority of two seats or fewer. The swing of a single seat in any of these municipalities could deliver a change in government.
Municipal boundary changes: Eastern Cape
Paul Berkowitz | 6 June 2016
Demarcations, redemarcations and various boundary changes are in the news for all sorts of exciting and disturbing reasons (Vuwani and Tlokwe). In the Eastern Cape there are four major mergers of local municipalities (as well as a few minor boundary changes between some municipalities).
Why do so many young people keep registering to vote?
Paul Berkowitz | 6 June 2016
The original joke goes along the lines of “The oldest man in the world has died. Again. Why does this keep happening?”. Granted, it's not the world's funniest joke but the death of the world's oldest man and the registration of the world's youngest voters have something in common - they're not a trick of the light but simple demographics.
Who's getting ready to vote: a look at the voting registration numbers
Paul Berkowitz | 6 June 2016
The Electoral Commission (IEC) held two registration weekends (in March and April). Earlier this month it released a report on the numbers of people who registered to vote. This post will look at that report and tease out a couple of themes from it. All the pictures in this post are screengrabs from the report, which you can download here.
The two maps you need for 2016 analysis
Paul Berkowitz | 6 June 2016
Here are two maps which will give a solid background to the upcoming municipal elections. The first map shows the current state of governance/rule/control in municipalities across South Africa, as at 5 April 2016... The next map gives a few clues on what things might look like after the 2016 elections.
Old and new borders: Nelson Mandela Bay metro 2016
Paul Berkowitz | 18 Mar 2016
We can now map old ward boundaries onto new. Specifically, we can see how the changes in ward boundaries might affect 2016 seats won by the various parties. This blog will look at the Nelson Mandela Bay metro municipality, comparing the 2011 ward boundaries to the 2016 boundaries.
2011 elections: ward winners
Paul Berkowitz | 14 Mar 2016
This interactive map shows the 2011 municipal ward boundaries and the winners of each ward in the 2011 municipal elections... Most of the map is coloured either dark green (ANC victories) or blue (DA victories).
It's easy for the ANC to use race as a campaign issue, but it's a very bad idea
Ebrahim Fakir | 21 Feb 2016
On Friday, the ANC in an act of absurdity, marched against itself. The ANC (movement) will have an anti-racism march to deliver a memorandum to the ANC (government). Yes - you can laugh out loud now. They are demanding "unity, non-racialism and democracy". These are not things a government can decree.
Tlokwe: Timeline of events
Paul Berkowitz | 21 Feb 2016
Tlokwe, a municipality in the North-West province best known for being home to Potchefstroom and North-West University, has been embroiled in controversy and drama for almost five years. Here is an interactive timeline of events from the 2011 municipal elections until today:
OSF-SA | 1 Sep 2016
The the South African Chapter of the Open Society Foundation and the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) will be hosting a seminar on 9 September 2016 on the theme:
Consolidation, Continuity or Change? @ 22 - The Local Government Elections
Ebrahim Fakir | 18 July 2016
The Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) will be hosting a seminar on the 27 July 2016 on the theme:
After the Party: 21 years of electoral democracy - what do South Africa's 2016 local government elections hold for the future?