By NORIMITSU ONISHI:
JOHANNESBURG — The African National Congress, the party that helped liberate black South Africans from white-minority rule but has become mired in corruption, endured its worst election since taking power after the end of apartheid, according to results released on Friday….
For the opposition Democratic Alliance, the election results are the first significant victories outside of its stronghold in the western part of the country. Whites and South Africans of mixed race make up the party’s core supporters in that area, and blacks make up only about one-third of the population there.
The Democratic Alliance retained Cape Town, the nation’s second-biggest city, with a landslide victory. The party now controls at least two of the nation’s eight biggest cities.
Mmusi Maimane, who last year became the Democratic Alliance’s first black leader, claimed victory in the mayoral race in Pretoria on Friday, with more than 10 percent of the votes still left to be tallied. The A.N.C. did not concede.
Under Mr. Maimane, 36, who grew up in Soweto, the Democratic Alliance appears to have made inroads even in A.N.C. strongholds, especially among young voters whose image of the A.N.C. has less to do with Mr. Mandela than with Mr. Zuma.
“I wanted change,” said Tebogo Malatjie, an unemployed 22-year-old man in Soweto who voted for the first time for the Democratic Alliance. “You cannot vote for the A.N.C. if you want change.”
Apart from the charismatic Nelson Mandela, who made a major contribution in uniting the various tribes and cultures in South Africa, the ANC has proved itself incapable of governing a first-world economy. Mired in corruption and with rampant crime, the country has stumbled from one economic disaster to the next. The former guerilla army has proved incapable of adapting to the task of responsible government.
Nothing depicts the plight of the South African economy better than the demise of the Rand against the US Dollar (USDZAR plotted below with inverted semi-log scale):
The Democratic Alliance has used its traditional stronghold of the Western Cape to showcase the benefits of clean, stable government. A message that is now winning votes in Traditional ANC areas like Nelson Mandela Bay (formerly Port Elizabeth).
A Democratic Alliance win in the national elections, in 3 years time, is the best chance of restoring the country to its former status as the economic powerhouse of Africa.