The local polls will be this year's first arena of conflict and re-alignment as the ANC fights for survival and the President picks his successor
The opposition has smelt blood and aims to give the African National Congress its toughest run since majority rule arrived in 1994. The ANC may lose key cities, especially the financial capital, Johannesburg, and the administrative capital, Pretoria, both in Gauteng Province, along with Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, the political crucible in which many ANC leaders were forged. This could turn the ANC into a predominantly rural party which still controls the nation but not the cities. That could have major consequences for social division which have not yet been thought through. Party insiders are already resigning themselves to the possibility of losing swathes of the black urban middle class and youth, disappointed with the ANC's success record.
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