South Africans Head to the Polls for Local Elections

South Africans Head to the Polls for Local Elections

Tired of joblessness and rough conditions, some Black voters could vote for majority white Democratic Alliance candidates.

Published May 18, 2011

South African voters went to the polls Wednesday to cast their votes in one of the nation’s most fiercely fought local municipal elections.

 

Issues such as jobs and basic services like water delivery have been at the forefront of campaign discussions, the BBC reports, and could also lead to many Black voters defecting from the ruling African National Congress (ANC) to vote for the Democratic Alliance (DA), seen as a “white” party by most citizens.

 

The challenge from the opposition DA is the strongest the nation has seen since the end of apartheid in 1994, according to analysts. The theme of their campaign this year is “Delivery for All” (in reference to those basic services many of South Africa’s Black poor aren’t getting) and party head Helen Zille, a white former anti-apartheid activist, often campaigned in the poorer areas.

 

Still, the ANC, which controls all of the provinces except for one—the Western Cape—is expected to maintain its grip on power.

 

South Africa’s legendary anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela remains a staunch ANC supporter and last week, President Jacob Zuma told voters that their ancestors would never forgive them if they voted against the ANC, the BBC reports.

 

But if the protests by citizens calling on officials to provide basic necessities like electricity and water in poorer provinces are any indicator, ANC leaders need to re-evaluate their strategies to ensure they’re helping all South African citizens.

 

(Photo: STR /Landov)

Written by Hortense M. Barber

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