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Elections 2021: Devolution of Power in South Africa

Nov 15, 2021

By Hajira Khota                                                                                                                                                        15.11.2021

The 2021 municipal elections could be the clearest sign yet of the public’s rejection of centralised planning, and they could spell the end of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s much-touted District Development Model, which would devolve local power to district municipalities, which would be guided by provincial and national government.

The President’s District Development Model (DDM), also known as the Presidential District Coordination Service Delivery Model, or One Plan, or Khawuleza (“hurry up” in isiXhosa), was a program introduced by the president immediately after assuming office in 2019.

However, the ANC believes that in order for the program to be effective, it must control the majority of districts and metros across the country. However, with the party’s disastrous voter support in councils, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal, pressing for the DDM’s implementation will be difficult.

Jonathan Erasmus is a researcher and writer for the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse who spoke to Radio Islam International; he says that the results in Ethekwini were a huge surprise as the ANC dropped below the 50% mark.

“In eThekwini there has been a steep rise in community-based political parties, with 14 of these taking 16 seats”.

Meanwhile, the introduction of a DA-led council in uMngeni would undoubtedly introduce new energy into the province, officially removing it from the two-party system.

Erasmus says that the Abantu Batho Congress (ABC) Party, a branch of the National Freedom Party (NFP) that includes former EFF members, has won 23 seats in 13 municipalities.

“In Mvoti, eNdumeni, ABC maintains the balance of power”.

While independent candidates fared neither better nor worse than in 2016, the biggest revelation was the rise of community-led parties, which not only ran for but also won 113 seats across the province.

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