South Africa: The Local Govt Election Battles That Matter Will Be Fought Within the ANC

Ballot papers (file photo).

While it is not possible yet to determine if or how the local government elections will change the balance of power within our politics, it is possible that this time the ANC's internal power balance may become a more important political story. With two of the main opposition parties showing signs they will not be a serious threat, for the moment, within the ANC there are signs of violent contestation for power.

With Kgalema Motlanthe now in charge of the party's elections committee, the former president could play a key role in determining the party's candidates. This move, coupled with what may turn out to be a successful implementation of the "step aside" Mangaung resolution, could lead to a big change in the balance of power within the ANC.

In many democracies, local elections are an important indicator of how voters view the governing party, and their opponents' rhetoric. They can provide a useful signal of what a party needs to do to stay in power, or for another party to see what needs to be done to challenge the next national elections.

This was seen in the 2016 local polls, when voters in some metros voted against the ANC,...

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