Vavi says DA hasn’t eaten into ANC’s core

African National Congress voters have not crossed to the Democratic Alliance, despite an increase in the opposition party’s share of the votes in the local government elections, Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on Friday.

M&G’s take: Local elections

As results of the local government elections streamed in it became increasingly obvious that this election was becoming a war between the African National Congress and the Democratic Alliance. The Mail & Guardian asked smaller parties what they thought about the possibility of coalitions and if they thought South Africa was becoming a two-party state.

“People will register their unhappiness but they will not cross the floor,” the union federation head said at the Independent Electoral Commission’s results centre in Pretoria.

Ahead of the polls, many communities registered their unhappiness over service delivery through protests.

“I think ANC supporters in the main mobilise not to vote … they won’t cross the floor.”

He said the impression that the DA had eaten into the ANC’s voter base was flawed.

“I think what is happening … is that the ANC is able to retain the core of its support. But the DA and Cope have wiped out all of the smaller parties. No party is in trouble with 60%,” he said of the ANC.

Smaller opposition parties had faired dismally thus far in the election, as the release of the results reached the 95% mark.

Vavi said the ANC would have to visit all the areas where people had problems.

“The challenge for the ANC is to go back to all those areas where people refuse to vote to ask very serious questions.”

Dressed in a black shirt and mustard blazer, Vavi attracted a number of journalists wanting to ask his opinion of the poll results so far.

Vavi said he was “quite pleased” at the result — the ANC’s share of the total national vote stood at 61,7% when he arrived. He described municipal polls as “difficult”.

Disappointment over Cape Town
His smile disappeared as he spoke of his disappointment at losing Cape Town to the DA. Cosatu Western Cape secretary Tony Ehrenreich had been the ANC’s mayoral candidate in the metro.

“Of course I am disappointed that in Cape Town we didn’t do well … I think we started to campaign too late,” he said.

DA leader Helen Zille then walked over, announcing that she wanted to “speak to [her] mate”, referring to Vavi.

They shook hands, laughed and joked, and Zille told Vavi that one of his quotes about the opposition party had been the “best of the election”.

“You said we are ‘going into the election with our tail between our legs and our back against the wall’,” she laughed, and the two spoke, lowering their voices, out of the journalists’ earshot.

ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu approached and jokingly asking Vavi if he was “trying to recruit” Zille.

“I’m recruiting him,” Zille shot back.

Vavi greeted ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe warmly, peering over his shoulder as Mantashe explained results appearing on a computer screen.

ANC takes North West by wide margin
The ANC led the North West with 74,99% of the votes, with the DA at 16,14%, according to IEC results released by 9am on Friday.

The ANC received 1,8-million votes, compared to the DA’s 395 648. The Congress of the People took third place with 70 231 votes (2,87%) and the African Christian Democratic Party received 24 505 votes (1%).

The Democratic Alliance increased its share of the vote in Rustenburg to 42 785 (20,38%) from 15,69% in 2006, but fell far short of the ANC’s dominance of the municipality. The ruling party retained it with 153 039 votes (72,89%).

The Congress of the People received 5 857 votes in Rustenburg, giving the party one seat in the municipality.

Independent candidates received 5 397 votes (1,69%), obtaining two seats.

The ANC obtained 55 seats and the DA 15 of the total 76 seats.

The North West includes the Ventersdorp municipality, the home of late Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging leader Eugene Terre’Blanche, which went to the ANC with 26 221 votes (81,22%). The DA received 4 492 votes (13,91%), followed by the Congress of the People with 1 053 votes (3,26%) and the African Christian Democratic Party with 43 votes (0,13%). – Sapa

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Natasha Marrian
Natasha Marrian
Marrian has built a reputation as an astute political journalist, investigative reporter and commentator. Until recently she led the political team at Business Day where she also produced a widely read column that provided insight into the political spectacle of the week.

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