Three of South Africa’s eight biggest municipalities elected women mayors this week, a major advance for gender equity at local government level.
Mpho Phalatse, the main opposition Democratic Alliance’s candidate, was chosen as mayor of Johannesburg, the nation’s largest city and economic hub, while her party colleague Tania Campbell was appointed to rule the industrial center of Ekurhuleni. The southern Nelson Mandela Bay municipality also has a female mayor in Eugene Johnson from the ruling African National Congress.
South Africa has done well when it comes to tackling gender equity on a national government level -- it is one of just 11 countries in the world where women occupy at least half the posts in cabinet and 46% of its national lawmakers are female, the second-highest proportion in Africa after Rwanda.
The country had lagged when it came to appointing women to senior positions in the cities, an issue now partially addressed following Nov. 1 municipal elections. The ANC’s share of the vote slipped below 50% for the first time since it took power in the nation’s first multiracial elections in 1994, setting the stage for it to potentially lose its national majority in 2024 elections.
Read: ANC Loses Grip on Key South Africa Cities After Election Setback
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