To enjoy the full Mail & Guardian online experience: please upgrade your browser
19 May 2011 16:12
The Congress of the People (Cope) was to blame for the Nelson Mandela Bay metropolitan council remaining in ANC hands, Cope officials themselves conceded after it became clear that the ANC had won.
By midday on Thursday there could be no doubt that the metro, which comprises Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage and Despatch, would be won by the ANC with at least 51% of the vote, with the Democratic Alliance securing about 40% and Cope 5%.
“We can’t run away from it—if we had done better the metro would have swung,” Cope MP Juli Killian said. “But what our 5% shows is that council is not as secure as it was.
We now have a footprint—in future by-elections we can do more work,” she said.
An extraordinary voter turnout of more than 66% made Nelson Mandela Bay the most widely contested metro.
“If Cope had run a better campaign, we would have easily taken the metro,” an official said. Killian said the internal wrangling in the party had prevented its campaign from taking off properly. “The [Mbhazima] Shilowa camp took us to court three weeks before the elections and wanted to evict us from Cope offices.
“The fact that we could participate in these elections at all is a miracle,” she said. The Independent Electoral Commission set the national target for voter turnout at 40%. In Nelson Mandela Bay Cope took 4,86% of the vote and parties other than the ANC and DA secured less than 1%. All parties viewed the metro as one of the key battlefields in the elections.
The ANC was so concerned about the threat of losing the metro that it raised the possibility of a coalition if it failed to win an outright majority. Infighting within the ANC and party members insisting that the regional leadership be sacked also posed a threat to the ANC’s majority.
Gwede Mantashe, the ANC secretary general, said that the ANC had learned from its experience in the metro. “We must work on the dynamics in the party. “It can’t be about us fighting and forgetting that there is a tomorrow,” Mantashe said.
For exclusively M&G articles and multimedia on the local government elections 2011 click here:
Read more from Mandy Rossouw
Create Account | Lost Your Password?