n Journal of Public Administration - City on fire : pre-poll mayhem in Tshwane and the fate of the African National Congress

Volume 51 Number si1
  • ISSN : 0036-0767


Among the metropolitan municipalities where the African National Congress' (ANC) electoral hegemony was reduced or completely lost, the City of Tshwane probably evokes more curiosity. Is the pre-poll mayhem that engulfed the City, following the ANC's announcement of Thoko Didiza as the mayoral candidate, behind its loss of the grip of power in Tshwane? If so, why did it also lose the City of Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay, and only hold onto Ekurhuleni through a coalition arrangement as it failed to get the outright majority to constitute the council, while its electoral hegemony was reduced in Mangaung, eThekwini and Buffalo City? All these frame the article's narrative to answer the question: what is behind the ANC's loss of the City of Tshwane? It starts with contextual issues such as the City's history, its geodemographic make-up and socio-economic profile. This is followed by the analysis of electoral trends in Tshwane and the Didiza factor. The article argues that, despite Didiza's mayoral candidacy, the possibility of the City being snatched from the ANC was writ large in the 2014 general elections, where the provincial proportion of its performance in Tshwane was 50.96 percent. It had hung by a "thread" following a drop below 50 percent in Nelson Mandela Bay (Ndletyana, Tchereni, Maimela & Lerakong, 2014:18). This follows its downward electoral trend, consistently regressive from 2006. It reached the lowest following the 3 August 2016 local government elections. It appears that even if the pre-poll mayhem that engulfed the City had not happened, the ANC would still have lost Tshwane. The reason for this is factionalism, fostered by patronage politics, coupled with the ANC's nomination and list processes, which are not in sync with the subtleties of localising democracy through municipal polls.

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