South Africa’s ruling ANC has suffered its biggest election setback since taking power 22 years ago.
The party lost its grip on local government in Tshwane, which includes the capital Pretoria, to the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA).
But the DA did not win a majority, meaning it may need to form a coalition to take power in the area.
The ANC also lost control of the symbolic Nelson Mandela Bay area, which includes Port Elizabeth, to the DA – again without a majority so a coalition there is also possible.
The DA, which had its roots as the anti-apartheid party of white liberals, is now run by its first black leader Mmusi Maimane, 36.
The DA calls itself “the most diverse and dynamic party in South Africa” and claims it is “the only party with a credible, proven plan to create real jobs”.
Nelson Mandela Bay was the African National Congress’ first loss of a major black-majority municipality in the elections as forecasters predicted voters could turn away from the party in large numbers.
Final results are expected to be announced later on Saturday, with the ANC reportedly leading in Johannesburg by a slim margin.
For a generation, the party of the country’s first black president Mr Mandela has enjoyed widespread support following its successful fight against apartheid.
But it has been hit by corruption scandals swirling around current president Jacob Zuma, 74, and a stagnant economy which has frustrated the country’s urban middle class.
The ANC said it would “reflect and introspect where our support has dropped”.
The DA already runs Cape Town, which is the country’s only major city where black people are not in the majority.
It has been pushing hard to win supporters in other regions.
The ANC so far has received around 53% of votes across the country, its lowest percentage ever, with the DA getting 26%.
The results for the ANC could put pressure on President Zuma to leave office before his term ends in 2019, according to political analysts.