Leaders of South Africa’s main political parties cast their ballots on Monday as the country voted in tightly contested local government elections.President Cyril Ramaphosa and First Lady Tshepo Motsepe voted at Hitekani Primary School in Soweto on Monday morning amid booing by supporters of the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and ActionSA who called ANC leader and his entourage “thieves and criminals”.
Ramaphosa expressed confidence that the ANC would cruise to victory in Soweto and the rest of Gauteng province despite the various service delivery protests, noting that the party has “explained the reasons for the party’s many failings”.
Main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen cast his vote in Durban North in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province.
He was also confident that the DA would win in most of the municipalities and revealed that the party would be open to coalitions in the event that it does not get the majority.
“We are going to go into this election and get as many DA votes in the ballot box, and thereafter we will sit down and have a look at forming coalitions where we don’t have a majority, but those coalitions will only be with parties that share our values and principles of non-racialism, respect for the rule of law and the Constitution, a social market economy and a capable state,” Steenhuise told journalists after casting his vote.
EFF leader Julius Malema was expected to cast his vote later on Monday.
Other prominent politicians who had cast their ballots at the time of going to press were former presidents Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma who voted in Johannesburg’s Houghton suburb and Nkandla in KZN, respectively.
South Africans are voting to choose 10,478 councillors and mayors for 257 municipalities.
Polling stations opened at 7am (0500 GMT) and are expected to close at 7pm on Monday, after which vote counting would commence.