While the ANC is ahead of other political parties in most districts as the counting continues in the local government elections, the official opposition is winning the hotly-contested metros.
Although it is still too early to call the polls – only 40% of the votes have been counted nationally – the DA was ahead in Johannesburg, Tshwane, and Nelson Mandela Bay on Thursday morning.
The ANC has won 13 municipal councils and the DA has secured four. In the City of Joburg the DA so far has just 43% of the vote, with the ANC closely following at 41%.
In the Nelson Mandela Bay metro the DA is leading by over 56% and the ANC is at 36.10%.
In the country’s capital city where just over 28% of the votes have been counted, the DA is just over 43% with ANC in hot pursuit at 41.11%.
Parties were brimming with confidence as early results trickled in, with ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe declaring his belief that his party would win a majority in Nelson Mandela Bay, Tshwane and Johannesburg, as well as forcing the DA below 50 percent in Cape Town.
But fortunes changed back and forth in the course of the night, with the DA claiming the first voting district to be announced in the Great Kei municipality in the Eastern Cape, before rapidly forfeiting its lead to the ANC.
While later results from densely populated areas tend to give the ANC a surge towards the end of counting, it has a long way to go to avoid dipping below 60 percent.
Also political parties won’t be celebrating yet. The bulk of the counted voting stations are in sparsely populated areas, meaning the picture is likely to change dramatically in the coming hours as results come in from more densely populated township voting districts, where the ANC has been stronger in previous elections and where the EFF will also be hoping to lift its current standing.