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Vol 52 No 9

Published 29th April 2011

South Africa

Local elections threaten the ANC's national grip

Municipal elections do not always stir passions but those on 18 May hold great significance for an African National Congress beset by infighting and disunity. They promise to be the most competitive polls since majority rule began in 1994 and will affect the ANC’s National Congress next year, signpost 2014’s presidential and parliamentary elections and test the Tripartite Alliance of ANC, Confederation of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and SA Communist Party (SACP), which is split several ways on economic policy.

President Jacob Zuma’s political position has become precarious and a poor show at the municipal polls will hurt him as much as his governing party (AC Vol 52 No 8). He is suffering abuse from senior colleagues over all aspects of his life, personal and political, and the media almost routinely reveals new corruption scandals about his government and his ministers. The local elections are creating problems for the ANC as a whole, though. To many people, the issues bothering electors exemplify the problems of both Zuma and the party.

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