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KZN: IFP loses position as official opposition

Verashni Pillay

While the ANC has firmly established itself in KZN, the country's official opposition now has its foot in the door.

Result capturing from KwaZulu-Natal for the 2014 elections concluded on Friday evening. (Madelene Cronje, M&G)

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has lost what little status it was left with in its stronghold of KwaZulu-Natal. It has had to cede opposition status to the Democratic Alliance who will take over as opposition with a narrow margin, according to the province’s final numbers in preliminary results released on Friday evening.

The IFP took third place in the 2014 provincial elections in KZN with 416 496 votes, which was 10.86%. It lost out to the Democratic Alliance (DA) by just 72 934 votes. The DA became the official opposition with 489 430 votes, which was 12.76%. In 2009, the IFP received 22.40% of the vote while the DA at the time garnered 9.15%.

Result capturing in the KwaZulu-Natal for the 2014 elections concluded on Friday evening. The ANC retained control of the province with a strong 2 475 041 votes, which was 64.52%. This was up from 2009 when it received 2 192 516 votes, which was 62.95%. KwaZulu-Natal is the ANC’s biggest province and home of its president, Jacob Zuma.

The ruling party has firmly established itself in the long-contested province with these results. The country’s official opposition meanwhile has its foot in the door, in a province that has long been dominated by either the ANC or IFP.

The DA’s narrow win was likely thanks to votes from urban areas in the province. Earlier in the day IFP was leading until areas particularly around Durban came in.

DA party analysts told City Press that a number of factors colluded for their surprisingly strong performance in the province: the splintering of IFP, the growth in Indian votes and the endorsement of shackdwellers’ association Abahlali BaseMjondolo.

Abahlali BaseMjondolo in KZN suspended its no voting policy to offer a surprise endorsement for the DA, which is likely to have bumped up its numbers in the province where the association is predominantly based with the bulk of its 25 000 supporters.

In addition the IFP’s support has been weakened by the emergence of the National Freedom Party (NFP) led by former IFP chairperson and respected Zululand mayor Zanele Magwaza-Msibi.

Magwaza-Msibi left the IFP and formed the IFP in January 2011 just months before the local government elections where her party captured over 10% of the province’s vote. The NFP took 7.31% of the province’s vote this time, coming in at fourth position.

Newcomers the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) took fifth place with 70 823 (1.85%). Voter turnout in the province this year was at 75.98%. A total of 3 836 009 valid votes were counted. 

Meanwhile the death of the Minority Front’s leader Amichand Rajbansi has weakened the support of the largely Indian party, which dropped from about 2% to 1% of the province’s vote. DA party analysts told City Press early indications show many of the party’s Indian voters had  voted for the DA in these elections. – additional reporting by Sapa


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