'The Battle for the Bay': The 2011 Local Government Elections in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality

Document Type


Publication Date



African Studies | Political Science | Social and Behavioral Sciences


The 2011 Local Government elections in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM) represented the beginning of a potentially significant shift in the political landscape of South Africa. The Democratic Alliance increased its vote total from the 2006 Local Government Elections by 14.8% to 40.2% and won 10 single member ward districts previously held by the African National Congress (ANC). The ANC held on to its majority position but gained only 51.9% of the votes and 63 of the 120 councillor positions in the NMBM. Understanding the patterns of vote shift is crucial to understanding whether or not the 2011 Local Government Elections portends the permanent decline of the ANC as a dominant electoral force in the NMBM. Additionally, to what extent the decline in an ANC-stronghold signals a possible decline nationally for the 2014 General Elections emerges as a crucial question for the future of South African electoral politics.