Daily Archives: August 6, 2016

2016 Elections: How it all unfolded

As the Electoral Commission prepares to make the final announcement of results for the 2016 Municipal Elections, SAnews looks at the week that was, since South Africans went out in their numbers to cast their ballots, in Wednesday’s poll.

There is no doubt that these have been the most dramatic and nail-biting elections for political parties, big and small. Never in the history of a democratic South Africa has the reality of coalition governments in municipalities been so inescapable.

The ruling African National Congress (ANC) has, since the first democratic local government elections in 2000, been a dominant governing party – winning an outright majority in almost all of the countries municipalities with the exception of the City of Cape Town and a handful of municipalities in the Western Cape where the Democratic Alliance (DA) had been dominant since 2006.

Many analysts agree these elections have been a show of the strength of South Africa’s democracy and institutions. The professionalism the IEC has handled the elections and the fragile period leading up to them has been described as the model for many African countries. South Africa once again delivered peaceful elections where each voter was given a chance to choose a party of their choice.

This week’s elections were the fourth democratic in the local government sphere. This is because the December 2000 municipal polls were the first fully democratic local elections in South Africa, following decades of a segregationist system. New municipal boundaries were drawn to include every part of the country and broke the old apartheid system that offered services along racial lines.

The constitutional reforms of 2000 required a total redesign of the former local authorities and their governance systems to create what was termed “wall-to-wall” local government with a mandate to create accessible services for all South Africans, irrespective of race. The achievements of local government can thus be seen in the increased number of people who now have access to many basic services that were previously reserved for a select few.

The final results the IEC will announce later on Saturday will give mandates to political parties to carry on these achievements of local government in South Africa and hopefully ensure that South Africans continue to benefit from the basic services the country’s 278 municipalities are expected to deliver.

This is how it went down

Since the voting stations across the country closed at 7pm on Wednesday, results started to stream in at the IEC’s state-of-the-art results centre in Pretoria. Representatives of all the political parties contesting the elections have had their eyes glued to the results leader board for the past three days, witnessing democracy in action.

Then the first municipalities were allocated. The first province to wrap up its counting of results was the Northern Cape, ironically, South Africa’s largest province in terms of land mass. There, the African National Congress managed to retain its majority by winning over 58% of the vote, slightly reduced from the over 63% it got in 2011. However, the party retained control of all 14 councils in the province.

Source: Government Communication and information System.