Divided South Africans vote in tight elections that could end ANC dominance

South Africans go to the polls Wednesday for parliamentary, provincial and local elections. After 30 years in power, Nelson Mandela's African National Congress (ANC) party could be forced into a coalition.

The latest survey, released last week by Afrobarometer, shows that a third of voters are still undecided – making the elections the most unpredictable in South Africa's democratic history.

The ANC has never appeared so fragile since the end of white minority rule in 1994 when Mandela was elected.

Polls suggest the ANC's share of the vote could fall as low as 40 percent, compared with 57.5 percent in 2019.

End of an era

Rallies on all sides gathered thousands of supporters last weekend.

Many voters are fed up with unemployment, crime, corruption and what many see as pervasive racism. Then there are the daily power cuts.

If the ANC is forced into its first coalition, President Cyril Ramaphosa may face a leadership challenge.

"I do think we’re going to move towards a model of coalition government," professor Gareth Stevens, vice-chancellor at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, told RFI.

This explains why the support for a party that has been in power for three decades is now crumbling.

It is hard to imagine a working coalition between the DA and the ANC.

Read more on RFI English

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