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Vol 56 No 11

Published 29th May 2015

South Africa

Uneasy lies Zuma’s head

The President’s rivals are using the ANC’s expected poor showing in the coming local elections as a rallying call against him

Next year's local government elections are widely seen as likely to be the most competitive since the end of white-minority rule in 1994 and that has got leaders of the governing African National Congress seriously worried. They fear that President Jacob Zuma's poor image and diminishing urban electoral appeal could cost the ANC the key major metropolitan cities of Johannesburg, Pretoria (Tshwane) and Port Elizabeth (Nelson Mandela Bay). In last year's general elections, the party won 49% in Pretoria, 48.81% in Port Elizabeth and 51% in Johannesburg. ANC leaders are worried that Zuma will cost them the black urban middle-class and youth votes. If the ANC lost these areas while holding on to the KwaZulu-Natal city of Durban, it would mean that with Cape Town controlled by the Democratic Alliance (DA), opposition groups would govern the political and financial centres of the country.

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