Results from South Africa’s fiercely contested local elections could deliver a setback to the ANC, with early indications on Thursday showing the party losing a very significant amount of support. With the count heading towards finalisation, partial results put the ANC ahead nationwide but with its lowest-ever levels of backing.
The main opposition DA held Cape Town, was ahead in the city of Port Elizabeth and locked in a close battle for Tshwane and Johannesburg. With more than two-thirds of the votes counted, the ANC had 53% support nationwide, with the DA on 27% and EFF on 8%, according to official results.
In Limpopo, the ANC continued to lead with 67% of the vote, while the DA, with 9.51%, trailed the EFF’s 16.8% by lunchtime. The ANC has won more than 60% of the vote at every election since the first multiracial vote in 1994, when Nelson Mandela was sworn in as president.
Both the ANC and DA are likely to be forced to court smaller parties and independent candidates to cobble together some outright municipal majorities.
While DA leader Mmusi Maimane did not write off the possibility yesterday of forming a coalition with another party, he made it clear that the ANC would not be part of any coalition.
“It is early. We have to look at the numbers because numbers will tell you who to engage with and what percentages you need. We must govern and govern well.
“We will never go into a coalition that will undermine our ability to deliver for the people of SA. I want to make sure South Africans can find work and that there will never be corruption.
“If people vote for change, they must acknowledge that we must bring change,” he said during a visit to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) centre, in Tshwane to look at the scoreboard. Appearing upbeat, the opposition leader said he was happy about the results thus far.
The ANC, meanwhile, described as “sensationalist” claims that Limpopo was the “home” of the EFF. There have been reports that ANC support in the province was dwindling, while Julius Malema’s EFF appears to be making inroads into erstwhile ANC strongholds.
In an interview with The Citizen at the IEC Limpopo results centre at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Thursday, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi said people in Limpopo still believed in the ANC. “[It is] sensationalisation [sic] that this is the home of the EFF – then the EFF will take all the votes,” Muthambi said. “I think the voters have vindicated us as the movement.”
Meanwhile, IEC chief electoral officer Mosotho Moepya noted reports of a disruption at the Johannesburg results centre yesterday.
“The capture of results is centralised in Johannesburg and delays occurred early today when a large number of presiding officers converged in a short space of time to deliver their results slips and security material,” he said. Tempers flared as staff wanted to go home after working for a long time in the cold weather.
“The electoral commission deployed the vice-chairperson and the provincial electoral officer to the centre and the situation was quickly resolved,” he added.
Moepya said the IEC was not aware of any missing results slips in Johannesburg. He said the IEC had seven days to make the results known and that they were on track. On the issue of Vuwani, Moepya said they were counting the results and the outcome would be determined in due course.
He confirmed the IEC received three complaints, but no case had been referred to the Electoral Court. He did not elaborate on the complaints.
The IEC thanked the millions of voters who braved the cold and windy weather to make their mark. He said the IEC was proud, once again, that South Africans voted peacefully. The IEC is also deeply grateful, he said, for the tireless work of the nearly 200 000 election officers who had kept the voting wheels oiled.