Opposition mayor elected in South African capital in historic vote

New major of Tshwani, Solly Msimanga (centre) of the Democratic Alliance together with national leader, Mmusi Maimane (right) arrive at a victory rally held at Freedom Park, Pretoria, South Africa on Aug 9, 2016.
New major of Tshwani, Solly Msimanga (centre) of the Democratic Alliance together with national leader, Mmusi Maimane (right) arrive at a victory rally held at Freedom Park, Pretoria, South Africa on Aug 9, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - An opposition councillor was elected mayor of Pretoria in a historic vote on Friday (Aug 19) that saw the ruling ANC party lose control of South Africa's capital for the first time since the end of apartheid.

Mr Solly Msimanga, 36, of the liberal centre-right Democratic Alliance (DA), was elected unopposed.

"I now declare councillor Solly Msimanga as the new executive mayor," said newly-elected DA speaker Rachel Mathebe.

It is the first time since the end of white-minority rule in 1994 that the capital is not headed by a mayor from the African National Congress (ANC).

The DA topped an August 3 municipal election in the capital, taking 93 of 214 council seats to the ANC's 89.

Nationally, the party of Nelson Mandela suffered its worst result in 22 years at the municipal election, garnering less than 54 per cent of ballots cast - an eight percentage point drop from the last local poll in 2011.

The municipal elections were largely seen as a referendum on President Jacob Zuma, whose rule of Africa's largest economy has been dogged by scandal.