Know your province: Eastern Cape

In the 2009 national election the ANC won nearly 70% of the votes cast in the Eastern Cape, yet under the seemingly homogeneous surface there are some interesting pockets in the province where opposition parties have a fairly firm hold.

The province is the source of 63% of the United Democratic Movement's (UDM's) national total and 23% of the Congress of the People's (Cope's) total votes.

The map of the province's wards below shows where the ANC is strong – the darker the green, the more votes the party got, according to the 2009 national election results. Click on a ward to see the percentage of the votes that went to each of the top five parties. *

The Municipalities

In all but two of the municipalities in the province the ANC won more than 50% of the vote.

Cope, the UDM and the DA

In the 2009 election, Cope, the new kid on the block, beat the UDM to become the "official opposition" in the Eastern Cape, getting 13% of the vote to the UDM's 4%. Even the Democratic Alliance passed the UDM, getting 10%. In fact, after Gauteng, the Eastern Cape was by far the province in which Cope performed the best.

The UDM, led by Bantu Holomisa, remained relatively powerful in the region around his birthplace, Mqanduli, near Umtata, where in nine wards his party won the majority of the votes. These wards, which are in the the Idutywa and King Sabata Dalindyebo municipalities, make up a mere 1.4% of the provincial total, a drop in the ocean compared with the 93% won by the ANC. The areas where both the UDM and Cope did best are shown in the map below – the yellow areas are where Cope got 20% or more of the votes; the purple areas are where the UDM got 20% or more.

The DA did best in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, and the Kouga (Humansdorp) and Camdeboo (Graaff-Reinet) municipalities. It's percentage of the vote has been inching up over the past three elections.

The UDM, however, has shown the opposite trend and because the Eastern Cape supplied 61% of the votes the party received in the 2009 election, it cannot afford to shed voters here.

It will be interesting to see the effect the factionalism in Cope, between Mosioua Lekota and Mbhazima Shilowa, will have on voting patterns in the province. Shilowa's faction has said it will support the UDM in May's election, but it seems very unlikely that Cope will retain its popularity and the other opposition parties will be itching for its votes.

* Inkwanca [Molteno] area does not appear on the ward map because in 2006, when this ward map was drawn up by the Municipal Demarcation Board, Inkwanca was a district management area that fell under the district municipality and had not yet been divided into wards. The election results for Inkwanca appear in the map of municipalities.

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