Marianne Merten

Cape Town’s elusive 106

The Pan-Africanist Congress has scuppered an opposition pact to control Cape Town involving seven smaller opposition parties and the Democratic Alliance -- out of frustration over haggling for positions. On Thursday the DA was ready to table the opposition party deal at its top executive structure and prepare to trade its mayoral candidate Helen Zille for control of the city it lost in the October 2002 defection period.

Now for the horse trading

No clear winner has emerged in Cape Town’s municipal poll, opening up the prospect of negotiations for a unity government, with smaller parties such as the Independent Democrats and the African Christian Democratic Party in the pound seats. At 1pm on Thursday, the count of 40% of the overall vote showed the Democratic Alliance in the lead at 51% and the African National Congress with 24,6%.

Rural setbacks for DA – De Lille is queen-maker

The Democratic Alliance failed to regain most of the hinterland municipalities in the Western Cape it lost to the African National Congress through floor-crossing, despite its aggressive ''Take back your city'' campaign. Instead, Patricia de Lille's Independent Democrats emerged as potential queenmakers in several finely balanced rural municipalities.

Cape metro: Now for the horse trading

<img src="http://www.mg.co.za/ContentImages/262374/vote-box_blue.gif" align=left>Deal-making on Cape Town's future became reality early on Thursday evening as available results showed neither the African National Congress nor the Democratic Alliance emerging as outright winners. With less than five percent of the vote outstanding, the DA was leading with 42,45% over the African National Congress's 37,3%.

Rural setbacks for DA – De Lille is queen-maker

The Democratic Alliance failed to regain most of the hinterland municipalities in the Western Cape it lost to the African National Congress through floor-crossing, despite its aggressive ''Take back your city'' campaign. Instead, Patricia de Lille's Independent Democrats emerged as potential queenmakers in several finely balanced rural municipalities.

Power play over power cuts

Power cuts have become a factor in Cape Town’s municipal poll, with the Democratic Alliance climbing in on a succession of blackouts this week. ''I have never seen such outrage. Now whites are going to vote,'' said a senior Western Cape DA member, who admitted the levels of enthusiasm fell short of the intensity of the December 2000 poll that clinched the city for the DA.

The ANC monolith starts to crack

<img src="http://www.mg.co.za/ContentImages/262374/vote-box_blue.gif" align=left>The African National Congress is fighting its toughest election yet. The ruling party’s monolithic hold on power is showing distinct cracks, as strongholds have splintered from Khutsong in Gauteng, where residents have staged running battles with authorities, to Khayelitsha in the Western Cape, where a feisty group of independents has challenged for power and Matatiele in KwaZulu-Natal where the former ANC mayor has formed a breakaway party.

Knysna’s Joy is DA’s despair

With her Sandton background and black suit and high heels, Joy Cole seems more like a typical Democratic Alliance local government election candidate than a DA hate object. But the tide of DA election posters proclaiming ''Take back Knysna'' is aimed at her.

One visit, one vote?

The local councillor does not live in the area, seldom visits and "doesn't really know what is going on, otherwise they would have built houses" ...

Municipal crackdown

The government is making an extra R9,6-billion available to the provinces this year, but at the same time is cracking the whip on accountability and better service delivery. A nationally applicable performance assessment system for top municipal officials will be in force by the start of the new municipal financial year, from July 1.

Hustings heat up in fight for Cape Town

The African National Congress-led Cape Town council appears to have been drafted to boost the party's faltering municipal election campaign.

Councils spurn community workers

Two-thirds of the government's community development workers -- the grassroots civil servants deployed by President Thabo Mbeki to boost local government services -- have failed to find jobs in municipalities in the Western Cape. In his 2003 State of the Nation address, Mbeki launched the scheme to bring government services to people’s place of residence.

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