South Africa's ruling African National Congress could lose major cities at local elections this week, including places it has held virtually unchallenged since the end of white-minority rule 22 years ago. Mana Rabiee reports.
It's election time in South Africa... where opinion polls say a sea change could be underway. The ruling African National Congress has been in power since the end of white-minority rule more than two decades ago. But come Wednesday's local elections, it could lose control of entire cities to the main opposition. Massive unemployment is largely to blame -- but so, too, corruption allegations against the ANC that has voters disenchanted and frustrated. (SOUNDBITE) (Sesotho) UNEMPLOYED WOMAN, SYLIVIA MASHILE, SAYING: "They are driving big and top cars. They do this and that. They stay in big houses. What about us? What do we gain after voting? We gain nothing." Polls suggest the ANC could lose the economic hub of Johannesburg... the capital, Pretoria... even symbolic heartland communities, like Nelson Mandela Bay. It's losing support to the Democratic Alliance party, which is trying to shake its image as a party chiefly serving minority whites. Party leader Mmusi Maimane (MOO-si Ma-mah-NI). (SOUNDBITE) (English) DEMOCRATIC ALLIANCE LEADER, MMUSI MAIMANE, SAYING: "We are here to say the ANC is only an obstacle. We have to remove them out of our way so we can fight the number one battle here in South Africa which is job creation." Once, this kind of defection from the ANC was unthinkable. Now, it's now being considered across the country. A historic reversal for the ANC that could reshape South African politics -- and South African society.