The ANC’s internal battles and poor governance in municipalities under its control have caused the dramatic 10% drop in support experienced by the governing party in KwaZulu-Natal.
With only the eThekwini metro, Ray Nkonyeni municipality and Pietermaritzburg voting districts still to be captured, the ANC has taken 53.6% of the vote, a sharp decline from the 65.31% it attained in 2014.
While the party’s provincial leadership says it is disappointed with the election result — having hoped to repeat its standout performance in 2014 — they still have a clear majority and are able to govern the province alone, having avoided the need for a coalition in the province.
“There are still a few major voting districts outstanding in eThekwini, but we accept the results,” said Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu, the ANC’s provincial spokesperson said. “We are disappointed as we had hoped to at least do as well as in 2014, but under the circumstances we have done reasonably well.”
“We have had a number of challenges: the challenges our people were raising in some of the municipalities we are leading. We have also had issues internally,” Simelane-Zulu said.
Simelane-Zulu said the results were “a reflection of these challenges that we have been facing as an organisation in the past few years.”
She added that in some areas, the fallout from the battle ahead of the party’s elective conference at Nasrec in December 2017 had continued, which had impacted on the results.
“In some areas, like eMsunduzi, comrades were not really campaigning, they were more focused on going to court,” she said.
The recent service delivery protests — some sparked by the failure of water supply caused by the recent floods in the province, had also contributed.
“On the day of the election people in eThekwini didn’t have water. The moment you stop people having water it really affects them. This also contributed to the outcome we achieved,” she said.
“Under the circumstances I think we are doing reasonably well. We are disappointed that we are not doing as well as last term, but we are going to work on this,” she said.
In 2009, the governing party took 63.97% of the vote in the province, capitalising on the wave of popularity of then party president Jacob Zuma.
The ANC in the province also bucked the national trend of lost support in 2014, with its slice of the vote increasing to 65.31% in KwaZulu-Natal.
Simelane-Zulu described as ‘irresponsible’ claims by Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) elections head Narend Singh that the ANC had been responsible for the fatal shooting of an IFP member outside a polling station in Greytown’s Ward 11 on Wednesday night.’’
“All the parties were outside the polling station at night when the shooting took place. At this point it is extremely irresponsible for somebody to say the ANC was shooting at the IFP. It was dark and none of us were there,” she said.
“We have called on the police to ensure that the matter is properly investigated. Nothing justifies shooting and killing anybody,” Simelane-Zulu said.
The IFP has made a major comeback in the province, dislodging the DA as official opposition by taking 17.42% of the KwaZulu-Natal vote, a major improvement on the 10.17% it took in 2014.
The IFP — which had been in free fall since 2009 when it took 20.52% — made its comeback at the expense of the NFP, which took less than 1% of the vote on Wednesday.
The Democratic Alliance took 13.7% of the vote in the province on Wednesday, a disappointment for the party which had hoped to build on the 13.3% it attained in 2014, when it became the official opposition.
The Economic Freedom Fighters, which had taken 1.97% in 2014, made serious gains in KwaZulu-Natal in this week’s poll, in which it achieved 9.4%.