As I gaze into my crystal ball, lets look at the Local Government Elections 2021 (LGE).

Don’t expect too much change from the Local Government Elections (LGE) 2021. In fact the biggest feature of the LGE is going to be the dismal turnout. Even though these elections are about wards, municipalities and metros, here are my overall predictions:

African National Congress – ANC 51%
Democratic Alliance – DA 19%
Economic Freedom Fighters – EFF 15%
Action SA 4%
Inkatha Freedom Party – IFP 4%
Freedom Front Plus – FF+ 4%

The decline of the ANC will continue, but it will hold on to an overall majority. What really matters are the major metros and the impact on the parties themselves:

African National Congress
The ANC’s LGE election strategy has been to apologise for its dismal performance in government and to promise to do better, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Even in a country defined by a spirit of Ubuntu, which usually translates into perpetual forgiveness, especially for the ANC’s missteps, it seems likely that the smell from overflowing sewers may have forced many voters to stay at home.

The ANC will fail to hold a majority in Johannesburg, Tshwane, Ekhuruleni, Nelson Mandela Bay or Cape Town. Despite being the party with the largest number of votes in all of these metros (with the exception of Cape Town), the ANC will not be able to rule through a coalition in any of the major metros.

The ANC majorities in Ethekwini (Durban) and Mangaung (Bloemfontein) will be cut dramatically, but will be retained by razor thin margins. The ANC is going to haemorrhage wards and municipalities in KZN, Free State, Gauteng, Eastern Cape and Limpopo. These elections will only serve to heighten the split in the party as the Zuma faction will have more ammunition to fire at the hapless Cyril Ramaphosa.

Democratic Alliance
Despite retaining its Cape Town majority, the DA is going to be punished at these polls shaving more than 7% off its support from 2016. The DA’s support in Gauteng is going to dive, largely because of the performance of Action SA, but this may allow it to enter into majority coalitions with Herman Mashaba’s upstart party in Johannesburg and Tshwane. It may even be part of a bigger coalition of sensible parties in Ekhuruleni and Nelson Mandela Bay. The DA will surrender a number of wards and municipalities especially in KZN, where Action SA and the IFP will do better than expected.

The more muscular campaign run by the DA, in which they highlighted their achievements will work among minorities and should arrest the decline that they suffered at the hands of the FF+ in 2019. Sadly, it is going to lose a lot of black support, especially to Action SA.

Economic Freedom Fighters
The tactic of promising heaven and earth to voters will not be enough to make the EFF a contender in the metros, where they will still struggle to be much more than a 10% party. The difficulty that the EFF faces is that the uncertainty that comes with the Flip-Flopper in Chief, Julius Malema; has made it a very undesirable coalition party, with none of the major parties looking inclined to step into that particular lion’s den.

The EFF will do surprisingly well in KZN and the Eastern Cape, in addition to its traditional home of Limpopo. This will lead to the EFF actually winning a number of wards and municipalities, which will put their rhetoric to the test. Just wait for the cases of corruption to hit a newspaper near you!

Action SA
Herman Mashaba can say things that no white politician can get away with. This makes him an attractive option for black voters who supported the DA in 2016. I would not be surprised if Action SA and the DA will form a majority coalition in Johannesburg and Tshwane and are part of a leading coalition in Ekhuruleni. The surprise could be a solid performance in Ethekwini where Makhosi Khoza could be more popular than expected.

Inkatha Freedom Party
The IFP will benefit from the Zunami currently plaguing the ANC. They will regain some of the ground lost in recent past and could form a significant opposition block in Ethekwini.

The Rest
I wouldn’t get too excited about the performance of any of the other parties.

Kind Regards
Michael Sham

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