Communities needed to decide what they wanted for themselves and not leave that responsibility to politicians, the African Independent Congress said after it garnered 51 council seats by Saturday afternoon.
AIC spokesman Aubrey Mhlongo said communities needed to take centre stage in issues that affected them.
“Our strategy is that we need communities to decide what they want, not politicians. That is why we see sporadic community protests, because the ruling party decides for the people, not what the people want,” Mhlongo said on the sidelines of the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) national results operations centre in Pretoria.
By 2pm on Saturday, the AIC had won 1.33% of the vote in the Eastern Cape, 0.93% in KwaZulu-Natal, 0.67% in North West, 0.47% in the Western Cape, 0.7% in the Free State, and 1.09% in Gauteng. The AIC contested 55 municipalities in the six provinces.
The AIC garnered more votes than the beleaguered Congress of the People and the African Christian Democratic Party, which had 0.44 and 0.42 percent respectively at the same time on Saturday.
“We are doing very good and we hope we would have reached the 60 seats mark by the end of today [Saturday],” said Mhlongo.
He shot down complaints that the AIC received African National Congress votes because of the similarities in the parties’ acronyms and colours. Where the AIC competed, it was above the ANC on the IEC ballot paper.
“Those statements are unfounded and not true. Look at Tshwane metro. We did not contest Tshwane but the ANC did very badly in the capital city … that notion is just people’s perception and not true.”
The AIC was formed in December 2005 after a municipal boundary dispute in Matatiele. It was formed by former ANC members with the express aim of contesting the 2006 local government elections in a bid to have the town of Matatiele reincorporated back into KwaZulu-Natal from the Eastern Cape.
While the AIC failed to get Matatiele reincorporated, the party has had staying power. In that initial 2006 local government elections, it picked up 10 seats and 19 856 votes – all of which were in Matatiele.
Apart from its success in municipal elections, it has managed to get three members elected to parliament, as well as a member elected to the Eastern Cape legislature.
– African News Agency (ANA)