DA surge not ANC's demise - Vavi
Pretoria - ANC voters have not crossed to the DA, despite an increase in the opposition party's share of the votes in the 2011 local government elections, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on Friday.
"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."
Retained core support
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 fared 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".
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, gingerly 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, to be 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.