Below is the map of the status of South African municipalities after the 2016 municipal elections. The municipalities have been divided into those which have a clear majority and those which should need coalition governments. Those with a clear majority have been further divided into those which are relatively safe for the particular governing party and those which could see a change in political fortunes if one seat were to change hands.
The map below summarises the current state of play. You can zoom, pan and click on particular municipalities for more information.
I’ll make one or two quick observations and come back to this map in the next day or so to add more detail:
– The municipalities where the ANC, DA or IFP have just a one-seat majority are at risk. They might not be at risk to the same degree as municipalities where a coalition is clearly needed, but opposition parties in such municipalities are likely to engineer by-elections in the months and years to come where they think they have a chance of swinging the whole municipality.
We’ve seen this action in the by-elections between the 2011 and 2016 municipal elections, often in the very same municipalities. The DA and COPE managed to form coalitions with successful ward councilors in two Northern Cape municipalities, shutting the ANC out. The ANC returned the favour in some Western Cape municipalities and the IFP won a few strategic wards off the NFP and ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, winning three municipalities in the process
– Following from the above point, the DA is at risk in a number of Western Cape municipalities and the ANC is at risk in some Northern Cape municipalities – and in a couple of municipalities in the North-West and Limpopo, for the first time ever. Both the ANC and IFP have municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal that they would need to watch closely
– The loss of a ward or two in these sensitive municipalities doesn’t mean a complete loss of power, but such losses are likely to trigger the formation of coalition governments in affected municipalities.