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ANC concedes local election defeat in key S.Africa city

Published on 05/08/2016

South Africa's African National Congress (ANC) conceded defeat Friday in the city of Port Elizabeth as local election results underlined the declining popularity of the party that led the anti-apartheid struggle.

The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) won Port Elizabeth, an industrial city on the south coast, by about six percentage points, bringing it victory in a key battleground of the municipal election.

With almost all votes counted in Port Elizabeth, the DA — on 47 percent — did not win an outright majority and will seek to build a coalition alliance with smaller parties.

“We accept that we have lost (Port Elizabeth),” said Jackson Mthembu, ANC chief whip in parliament, ahead of final results for the other hotly-contested cities of Johannesburg, the economic hub, and Pretoria, the capital.

“We know it’s a tight race but I can assure you that we will emerge victorious in Tshwane (Pretoria), we will emerge victorious in Johannesburg,” he added.

With about 90 percent of the nationwide vote counted, the ANC was ahead overall but it was the party’s worst electoral performance since white-minority rule fell 22 years ago.

As the count drew to a close, the party of Nelson Mandela was on 54 percent — sharply down from 62 percent in the last municipal elections in 2011.

The DA was on 26 percent with the radical leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) on eight percent, according to official results.