Battle for the Bay Revisited: The 2021 South African Local Elections in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality


  • Gary Prevost Nelson Mandela University
  • Janet Cherry Nelson Mandela University
  • Patrick Brennan Nelson Mandela University



African National Congress, Democratic Alliance, violent democracy, race-based campaigning, political participation


The 2021 local election in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM) saw a change in the fortunes of the two leading political parties, the African National Congress (ANC) and the Democratic Alliance (DA), in the context of a low-turnout election. The DA lost its advantage from the 2016 election and fell back into a tie with the ANC in the number of councillor seats. The equal position of the two leading parties led to an outsized role for smaller parties, including a minor party, the Northern Alliance, currently holding the mayor’s office in an ANC-led coalition. The authors use the lens of Gavin Davis’s theory on race-based campaigning to analyse the election results and the “violent democracy” framework of Von Holdt to analyse the political situation in the townships, where violence coexists with relatively high levels of political pluralism and participation. Also analysed is the challenge of coalition governments at the local level, and suggestions for electoral reform are offered.


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How to Cite

Prevost, Gary, Janet Cherry, and Patrick Brennan. “Battle for the Bay Revisited: The 2021 South African Local Elections in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality”. Politeia, 22 pages .