South African ANC Moves to Ensure Support in Port Elizabeth

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress is campaigning hard in Port Elizabeth to prevent the loss of a second major city to the opposition in local elections on May 18, said Julius Malema, leader of the party’s youth wing.

The ANC will still win the constituency, even though its majority in the city slipped to just over half at the last national election in 2009, ANC Youth League President Malema told reporters in Pretoria today. The ANC’s share of the vote in the coastal city of more than a million fell from 79 percent in 2004.

“We know we are weak in” Port Elizabeth, Malema said. “We are redoubling our efforts in the Eastern Cape,” where the country’s sixth-largest metropolitan area is located. “We’re going there in full force.”

The ANC has been in power since the end of white minority rule in 1994. It lost control of a major city’s administration for the first time five years ago, when the opposition Democratic Alliance was voted into office in Cape Town.

To contact the reporter on this story: Franz Wild in Johannesburg at fwild@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net.

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