Voting stations across the country opened on Wednesday for the highly anticipated 2016 local government elections.
The poll may result in SA’s highest voter turnout as a record 26.3-million voters are registered. They are set to be the most contested local elections since 1994‚ with 200 political parties‚ 855 independent candidates and more than 61 000 councillor candidates.
They are also set to be a crucial test for the ANC and opposition parties. The ANC conceded at its national general council in 2015 that if its support fell below 60% in this election‚ it would mark a “psychological turning point” and create perceptions of the “demise of the movement“.
It would be an indictment on opposition parties should they fail to attract new voters‚ erode ANC support or capture key metros‚ they too would have to return to the drawing board as the governing party has been vulnerable entering this election.
Over the past two days‚ special votes were cast across the country. There were 740‚ 000 people registered for special votes‚ three times more than in the 2011 local elections.
The Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) is set to have a record 22612 voting stations open on Wednesday across the country‚ reports Business Day.