n Journal of African Elections - Ten years of democratic local government elections in South Africa : is the tide turning?




Since the 2006 local elections the ruling African National Congress (ANC) has lost a total of 48 wards in by-elections and won only 15. This is a complete reversal of the party's performance between 2000 and 2006 when it lost only five wards and won 47. Does this signify a change in South African voting patterns? This chapter is based on an in-depth analysis of election data provided by the Electoral Commission of South Africa on its website. The analysis covers a ten-year period from 2000 to 2010 and includes results of the 2011 local elections. It also refers to the national elections of 1994 and 1999 to make a comparison. The analysis shows the dominance of the ANC since the first democratic elections in South Africa in 1994, which it won, and continued to increase its voter support, peaking in 2004 with a 69.69% majority. Similarly, in local elections the ANC dominated in 2000 and 2006. The 2011 local elections show a slightly different picture. By-elections are also discussed, with data demonstrating a similar trend to that in the national and local elections. The period from 1994 to 2006 was a period of growth for the ANC and the period 2007 to 2010 was a period of decline, thus demonstrating a Bell Curve pattern.


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