ANC Gets Slim Victory in South Africa's Economic Hub Gauteng

(Bloomberg) -- South Africa’s ruling party secured an outright majority in the nation’s richest province Gauteng by a razor-thin margin in May 8 elections, extending its control of the economic hub even as opposition parties manage its biggest cities.

The African National Congress won 50.2% support in Gauteng, giving it command of eight of the country’s nine provinces as well as the national parliament. The Democratic Alliance kept control of the Western Cape.

Getting less than half the vote in Gauteng would have forced the ANC into an alliance with the opposition to lead the provincial government, which may have required it to make policy concessions or give up key posts.

Gauteng makes up a third of South Africa’s gross domestic product and was a key target for the DA. It linked up with the EFF and other smaller parties to take control of Johannesburg, the country’s biggest city and financial center, and the capital, Pretoria, in municipal elections three years ago.

The DA won 27.5% support in the province and the EFF 14.7%. The Freedom Front Plus, Inkatha Freedom Party and African Christian Democratic Party will also have representation in the regional legislature.

The ANC won 57.5% of the national vote. While that’s the party’s worst performance on national level since the first all-race election in 1994, it has clawed back support under President Cyril Ramaphosa after dropping to an all-time low of 54.5% in a municipal vote three years ago when some of its supporters boycotted the ballot in protest at then President Jacob Zuma’s immersion in a succession of scandals.

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