Durban - Preliminary results of Wednesday’s local government elections showed the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal would achieve its aims, the party said.
“We are definitely achieving our targets. We are satisfied with the elections,” African National Congress (ANC) provincial chairperson Zweli Mkhize told reporters in Durban.
The ANC had intended maintaining control of all district and local municipalities it controlled and increase its support.
“The indications on the ground make us comfortable that we are achieving our targets. We are doing very well in all the districts. We thank our people for voting for the ANC.”
ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said the party was confident it would retain the eThekwini municipality, which incorporates Durban.
Wanted to win
KwaZulu-Natal Inkatha Freedom Party chairperson Bonginkosi Buthelezi conceded defeat, saying the newly-formed National Freedom Party (NFP) had been a major factor in the poll.
Speaking after the Amajuba district's results were released, which showed the ANC had won, Buthelezi said the party had faced an uphill battle which it had failed to win.
"Although we knew that the NFP was going to be a factor, we did not know that it would be to this degree," Buthelezi said of the IFP breakaway party.
"The IFP went to the election with the intention of winning. We are obviously disappointed with this outcome."
He alleged that some NFP members who had been axed from council positions had continued using council resources to fund the party. Buthelezi also blamed disaffected voters for the party's woes.
"We also had to face up to the reality that the ruling party was using government resources to carry out its election campaign."
The party would hold a council meeting soon in which the results would be discussed.
The ANC won the Nkandla ward, site of President Jacob Zuma's homestead, from the IFP. The ANC got 1 219 votes (53.9%) to the NFP's 673 votes (29.7%) and the IFP's 368 votes (16.28%).
The IFP had controlled the ward since the first democratic local government elections, which was a major boasting point for the party.
According to results released by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on Thursday, the ANC had won 14 of 16 local municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal. More results would be available later on Thursday.
ANC victories included Richmond, Mooi Mpofana, uMngeni Vulamehlo, Ezinqoleni, Amajuba, Umzimkhulu, Kwa Sani, Danhauser, eMadlangeni, Newcastle, Estcourt Umtshezi, Endumeni and Umvoti. Those won by the IFP were Mthonjaneni municipality, incorporating Melmoth town, and Hlabisa municipality.
IEC provincial chief Mawethu Mosery said seats had been allocated in all the municipalities where votes had been audited, and he was happy with the process so far. He estimated that all votes would be captured by 20:00 on Thursday.
A political analyst said earlier the NFP's influence could help other parties get into commanding positions in municipalities such as Umvoti, Mthonjaneni and Hlabisa, to the detriment of the IFP.
"It is true that politics is a cruel game. A party which was considered a non-entity has now emerged as a kingmaker," said Nhlanhla Mtaka.