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South African Opposition Takes Power in Johannesburg

  • VOA News

FILE - An opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) supporter voices his support after a protest march to the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg, April 15, 2016.

FILE - An opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) supporter voices his support after a protest march to the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg, April 15, 2016.

South Africa's main opposition party has won control of the local government in the economic hub city of Johannesburg, for the first time since the end of apartheid.

The Democratic Alliance's candidate won the post of mayor in an election by local government councilors, following heavy losses by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) during August 3 municipal elections.

The win is one of several for the Democratic Alliance in urban areas, including taking political control of the capital, Pretoria, in elections last week.

It marks a shift in the political landscape in South Africa, where the ANC has faced virtually no opposition nationally since it came to power after apartheid ended in 1994.

The ANC is still the largest party in Johannesburg, winning 44.5 percent of the general vote compared to the DA's 38.4. However, the party failed to win an outright majority, and the leftist Economic Freedom Fighters, with 11 percent of the vote, chose to align with the DA.

New Mayor Herman Mashaba, a successful businessman, promised Monday to bring jobs to Johannesburg and "get this city working again." He campaigned on a platform of creating jobs and routing out corruption.

Besides Johannesburg and Pretoria, the DA also controls the coastal municipality of Nelson Mandela Bay and the legislative capital, Cape Town.

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