South African President Jacob Zuma will face renewed pressure to quit after partial election results showed his African National Congress losing outright control of the capital, Pretoria, and Johannesburg in its worst electoral showing since apartheid ended.
The ANC and the Democratic Alliance were running neck-and-neck in both cities, with about 90 percent of votes counted from Wednesday’s local government election. The ruling party lost the southern Nelson Mandela Bay municipality, a key port and vehicle manufacturing hub.
“It’s terrible news for Jacob Zuma,” Mcebisi Ndletyana, a politics professor at the University of Johannesburg, said in an interview. “This is a serious show of disapproval of his leadership. Every right-minded person has been saying Jacob Zuma is a serious liability to the ANC.”
Calls for Zuma, 74, to resign have mounted since the nation’s top court ruled in March that he violated the constitution by refusing to repay taxpayer money spent on upgrading his private home. He may also have to face 783 charges of corruption, racketeering, fraud and money laundering, following a high court decision that prosecutors erred when they decided to drop a case against him just weeks before he became president in 2009.