The results of the 2011 local govt elections show a maturing of the democracy in South Africa. Apart from the continued existence of scores of tiny opportunistic parties in the large metropolitan areas, the peripheral parties which enjoyed strong support in previous elections, seem to be disappearing from the landscape.
These include the IFP (with 3.94% of the total vote), which is now a much weakened regional party focusing on KZN, the PAC (0.43%), the UDM (0.68%), COPE (2.33% of the total vote) and the ACDP (0.6% of the total vote).
The newly launched National Freedom Party (with 2.58% of the total vote),did however make inroads especially into traditionally IFP territory.
Two parties are clearly taking over the political landscape, namely the ANC and the DA.
The ANC’s majority was reduced from just over 66% to 63.65%, while the DA’s support increased from around 18% to 21.97%.
Should this trend continue, South Africa will become a two party state which, in developed nations, generally means a strong opposition to the ruling party. Could this one day lead to a possible regime change? Last week’s elections seem to indicate that this is possible.
The electorate have begun to vote outside of their traditional comfort zones, i.e. along the old racial lines. The DA has also begun to garner councillors, and therefore support, from the broader spectrum of South Africans and are starting to show that they will play a significant role in the way South Africa is governed from now on. This development should provide much confidence for current as well as potential investors.