Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane
Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said he was glad his party had given the people of South Africa a viable alternative to the African National Congress (ANC).Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty

South Africa's ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), has suffered its biggest election setback since taking power at the end of Apartheid, 22 years ago. Local media reports have indicated that the ANC has lost the major metropolitan area of the country that includes the country's capital city of Pretoria.

The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) has edged out the ANC in Pretoria's Tshwane, although they did not win a majority, which raises the likelihood of a coalition government. The DA gained 43.1% of the votes, compared with 41.48% of the votes for the ANC.

There is only less than 1% of the votes left to be counted and the race for the country's largest city, Johannesburg, remains too close to call. Earlier, the ANC lost their key battleground of Nelson Mandela Bay to the DA, with DA candidate Athol Trollip being elected mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay

DA confirmed that they were in talks with other parties to form a coalition in the municipality of Nelson Mandela Bay on South Africa's southern coast. Their leader, Mmusi Maimane, took pride in the fact that his party had given voters a viable alternative to the ANC and said that the people had voted for change in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Maimane told the BBC: "I think that to me says that our message got through – it says our people heard us and South Africans still believe in a dream of a non-racial South Africa, South Africans still want our country to prosper."

Unemployment and corruption scandals have surrounded President Jacob Zuma's term, tarnishing the ANC's image in recent months. According to experts, the ANC's urban vote had collapsed drastically with black middle and working classes turning their allegiance to the DA after being tired of ANC failing to deliver on promises.

The final results of the municipal elections are due to be announced at 6pm local time (4pm GMT).