Analysis of South Africa’s 2021 local elections and coalitions

Elections do not play out in isolation. In this context MISTRA’s report on the local government elections of 2021 goes beyond the historic event of 1 November 2021, and explores the conversion of the electoral mandates into local government.

WHEN WEDDING BELLS RING:COALITIONS WITH(OUT) CONCORD

Elections do not play out in isolation. Voting in elections gives the mandate to form governments. In this context MISTRA’s report on the local government elections of 2021 goes beyond the historic event of 1 November 2021, and explores the conversion of the electoral mandates into local government. It comes at a time of political turmoil, when party dominance is fading. The main opposition parties, unable to offer definitive, majority-backed alternatives, seem as lacking as the African National Congress. Yet, besides still supporting South Africa’s three main parties in significant numbers, the voters signalled their disillusionment and alienation from local government and local elections. The party system reflected the spirit of the time through a substantial level of fragmentation – and 70 hung councils resulted. 

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