On November 1, South Africans will go to the polls in the sixth round of local government elections. The Daily Vox spoke to Paul Berkowitz, the director of The Third Republic about his predictions for the elections. Third Republic is a nonprofit organisation committed to deepening democratic participation in South Africa.
Berkowitz said: “Many of the metropolitan municipalities that were heavily contested last time will be contested this time. The three Gauteng metropolitan municipalities, namely the City of Ekurhuleni, City of Johannesburg and City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipalities will be heavily contested, as well as the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality.”
During the 2016 local government elections, coalitions were formed – formally and informally – in many of the big metros. Four out of the eight metros were run using coalitions. This included the city of Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay.
“The other large municipalities that were under pressure last time like Mogale City and Rustenburg should also be heavily contested this time. Plus some new ones like Emfuleni in South Gauteng. In the ones where the competition is heavier than before in some of metros like eThekwini where we might see coalition governments,” said Berkowitz.
“The 2016 local government election gave rise to a coalition (governments). We can expect an increase in the 2021 local government elections. There’ll be more municipalities where a coalition is needed. There’s a lot of new parties and independents,” said Berkowitz.
“The number of registered political parties and independent candidates have increased. Voters want to know what’s going to matter during the coalition negotiations.”
There has been a significant increase and interest in independent candidates for the 2021 Local Government elections.
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Berkowitz said: “It largely comes down to how well the various parties do. Some of them have talked about who they want to form coalitions with. When it comes down to it, it will be about power and power sharing, depending on which parties do better or worse or have more control or options about who they partner with. That’s going to determine who will be in coalition with who.”