The Northern Cape's votes have been counted, and while the DA and ANC have walked away smiling, Cope has been left humiliated.
The Northern Cape was the first province to have all its votes counted on Thursday, and while the news was good for both the Democratic Alliance (DA) and ANC, Congress of the People (Cope) was humiliated.
The country’s smallest province by population, the Northern Cape, had its final 2014 election results tallied, audited and published just before 4pm on Thursday, and though the numbers held no surprises, they captured the staggering decline of ANC breakaway Cope.
The ANC increased its share of the national vote in the Northern Cape from 61.1% in 2009 to 63.9%, and will also be unchallenged in the provincial legislature. The combined DA and Independent Democrats (since merged with the DA) share of the vote in 2009 was 17.82%; in 2014 that number jumped to what would have been a creditable 23.4% had the party not expressed confidence that it could win the province. And newcomers the Economic Freedom Fighters walked away with 5% of the national share in the Northern Cape.
But those gains came at the expense of Cope. The breakaway party, still poorly organised in 2009 nonetheless came in second in the Northern Cape with 16% of the national vote. For 2014 that number was 3.3%, putting it in fourth place and essentially out of the picture.
The Freedom Front Plus was the only other party to make the 1% mark in the province, at 1.3% of the national vote.
A total of 51 630 voters abandoned Cope in the Northern Cape between the 2009 and 2014 votes. And there was no indication that the former Cope voters had simply stayed away: 29 212 more people voted in the province than five years ago, and only 661 more national ballots were spoilt than in 2009 – a spoilt vote percentage of 1.7%.
Voter turnout in the Northern Cape was 73.8%.
A fine-grained look at the province’s results showed the patchy reach of the EFF. In Kuruman the party of Julius Malema attracted 10.6% of the national vote, while in Kimberly that number was 4.9%, and in Upington 1.5%.