Published December 2021

When Wedding Bells Ring: Coalitions With(out) Concord

Analysis of South Africa’s 2021 local elections and coalitions

MISTRA’s report on the local government elections of 2021 goes beyond the historic event of 1 November 2021, and explores the conversion of the electoral mandates into local government. It comes at a time of political turmoil, when party dominance is fading.

When Wedding Bells Ring unpacks this unfolding world. South Africa from 2016 to 2021 experienced an increase of around 260 per cent in the number of hung councils, where coalition governments need to be constituted, unless the parties choose (or are forced to accept) the unstable route of minority governments. In the 2016–2021 local government term South Africa experienced high levels
of coalition instability and disruptive local government. Party-politicisation ruled, and rewarded opposition parties with the hitherto dominant African National Congress falling below 50 per cent.