SOUTH AFRICA ELECTIONS.jpg
A voter casts his votes at a voting station in Kliptown during the local municipal elections in Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa, 03 August 2016.
Photograph: EPA/CORNELL TUKIRI

The ruling African National Congress (ANC) posted its worst election results in more than two decades Saturday, losing three of South Africa's eight major metropolitan areas to the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) in local elections.

After 22 years of political dominance, the historic ANC liberation movement lost the capital, Pretoria, the manufacturing hub Port Elizabeth and tourist hotspot Cape Town to South Africa's main opposition party, the electoral commission's final results showed.

In Johannesburg, South Africa's largest and wealthiest city, the ruling party fell short of an absolute majority but still won with 44.5 per cent of the vote.

The ANC, which led the country out of 46 years of apartheid in 1994 with Nelson Mandela at the helm, has seen a gradual erosion in support.

The final tally for Thursday's elections showed the party with 54 per cent of all votes - down from the 62 per cent garnered by the ANC in the last local elections in 2011.

The DA received 27 per cent of all votes across the country. Long considered a white party in South Africa, the DA has gained support among a growing black middle class.

"The myth of the DA as a 'white' party has finally been shattered," party leader Mmusi Maimane said Saturday. "More and more black South Africans are seeing the difference we can make where we govern, and are entrusting us with their votes."

Maimane is the first black South African to head the party.

Many South Africans have criticized President Jacob Zuma and the ANC for widespread corruption and cronyism, amid lagging economic growth, high unemployment, lack of housing and crumbling education and health systems.

The DA captured 43 per cent of the vote in the metro area surrounding Pretoria, which is known as Tshwane Metro, beating the ANC by 2 percentage points, according to the electoral commission website.

The DA captured a solid majority - 66 and 63 per cent, respectively - in Cape Town, where it previously governed, and in the economically important Western Cape province, where Cape Town is located.

The opposition party also beat the ANC in Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, where the car manufacturing hub Port Elizabeth is located, with 47 per cent, while the ANC trailed at 41 per cent.

"The elected representatives must govern on behalf of and in the best interests of all South Africans," Zuma said Saturday. "They must build an accessible, caring and efficient local government system throughout the country, regardless of which party controls the municipality."

Latest news

Petrokemija posts HRK 87.3m loss in 2016

The Petrokemija artificial fertiliser manufacturer made HRK 1.93 billion in revenues in 2016, expenditures were HRK 2.02 billion and the loss was HRK 87.3 million, down 5.6% on the year, the Kutina-based plant said on Monday.

Wigemark says election legislation amendments of utmost importance for Bosnia

Wigemark said that amending the election legislation and continuing the process for joining the EU were the most important political processes in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

Egyptian court upholds 10 death sentences in 2012 football riot

Ten defendants in a 2012 Egyptian football stadium riot, in which 74 people were killed, saw their death sentences upheld by an Egyptian court Monday.

Italian cops bust ring giving fake EU papers to 'enormous number'

Police said Monday they had busted a criminal ring that sold fake work papers to thousands of immigrants, allowing them to obtain Italian residency permits and access to the rest of the European Union.

Militants launch two rockets into Israel from Sinai

Two rockets fired from Egypt's Sinai peninsula landed in Israel on Monday.

US vice president reaffirms commitment to European Union

The United States remains committed to a "continued cooperation and partnership" with the European Union, US Vice President Mike Pence says.

Strike shuts museums and archaeological sites in Greece

The majority of archaeological sites and museums in Greece will remain closed on Monday.

Iran carries out more missile tests despite US pressure

Despite US sanctions, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard carried out more missile tests on Monday, part of three days of military manoeuvres.

Eleven injured as migrants storm Spanish enclave of Ceuta

Around 350 migrants managed to scale the 6-metre-high double border fence around the Spanish enclave of Ceuta in Morocco early Monday.

One Vietnamese sailor dead, seven abducted in attack off Philippines

Suspected pirates killed a crew member of a Vietnamese-flagged cargo ship and abducted seven in the latest attack in southern Philippine waters, coast guard officials said Monday.

Famine declared in parts of South Sudan - 100,000 facing starvation

More than 100,000 people are facing starvation in parts of violence-plagued South Sudan, three UN agencies said Monday as they declared famine in parts of the country.

North Korean envoy to Malaysia: 'We cannot trust the investigation'

North Korea "cannot trust the investigation" by Malaysian police into the death last week of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's half-brother, Pyongyang's ambassador to Malaysia said Monday.