Outcome likely to affect presidential polls
By Lukmon Akintola
South Africans commenced voting this morning in keenly contested municipal polls that analysts say is a veritable referendum on the tenure of the incumbent president, Jacob Zuma and the ruling African National Congress, ANC.
So fierce has the campaigning been that Zuma and the ANC were forced to drag in the controversial matriach, Winnie Mandela into the fray to help shore up dwindling support for the ruling party.
Among other areas, the elections are being hotly contested in the big three municipalities of Pretoria, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth as well as in testy suburbs like Marikana where the rival Democratic Alliance, DA and the upstart Julius Malema-led Economic Freedom Fighters are giving the ruling party a very tough run.
The ANC has dominated the South African political space since its long-imprisoned leader, Nelson Mandela came out from the notorious Robben Island to form a national government.
Howevewr, the party has seen its support base dwindle very sharply in the last few years, no thanks to what many describe as the unflattering leadership of its present leader, Jacob Zuma.
Equally being broached is the possibility that the outcome of the polls would strongly affect the ongoing subdued jostling for advantage between Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa and Africa Union strongwoman, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in the battle to succeed Zuma as well as endanger Zuma’s continued leadership of the party in the days ahead.