S. Africa's ANC suffers worst election result ever

South Africa's governing African National Congress has suffered its worst election result since taking power at the end of white minority rule 27 years ago.

A final count on Thursday (November 4) showed the ANC on 46% of the vote in municipal elections.

That's seen as punishment from an electorate wearied by repeated corruption scandals and poor basic services.

Local elections are seen as an opportunity for the populace to lodge protest votes - but the ANC has been steadily losing support.

Winning less than 50% for the first time raises the prospect, albeit still remote, that the legacy party of Nelson Mandela could - in the not too distant future - be forced into opposition or a coalition with smaller parties.

However transport minister Fikile Mbalula pointed out that the ANC was still the victorious party.

"ANC from the voters are saying to us: 'We still trust you that you can do better and do things better as you said that you’ll build better communities with us but at the same time, we are not giving you a decisive victory'."

And despite the ANC's falling popularity, rival parties have not yet been able to capitalize.

Main rival the Democratic Alliance is still regarded as a party for South Africa's economically-privileged white minority.

It took 22% of the vote from Monday's (November 1) poll.

But DA leader John Steenhuisen said the political landscape is changing.

"One party domination is coming to a swift end across the length and breadth of South Africa and we need to be able to take advantage of that going into the next elections so the road to 2024 starts today."

The Economic Freedom Fighters scored 10%. The fledgling Marxist party is prone to radical and sometimes violent rhetoric that does not appeal to a broad range of voters.

EFF leader Julius Malema said the ANC falling below 50% made him the "happiest man".

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