Pretoria - The collapse of the Congress of the People was the reason why ANC won the Nelson Mandela Bay, Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said on Thursday.
"If Cope had retained the overall results [from the previous election], we would have easily been able to retain Nelson Mandela Bay. The reason we lost is because of the collapse of Cope," Zille said during her walkabout at the Independent Electoral Commission's results centre in Pretoria.
In the last election, Cope took about 17% of the votes. This time around, the ANC's breakaway party had some 35 000 votes, which was close to 5% - still subject to finalisation.
Zille visited the metro about five times campaigning ahead of the elections on Wednesday.
Besides the overall loss, Zille said the DA had done "fabulously well" as they pushed up from the 20% margin.
She said her party would in future bolster votes by keeping the same attitude and enthusiasm.
"We are going to build on this fantastic results. We will follow the same recipe, be positive all the time, bringing people together, governing well, delivering services where we govern, all those things" she said smiling.
On a positive side, the DA managed to win one ward in the metro. This was the same ward where Zille complained voters were being given only one ballot paper instead of two.
The Independent Electoral Commission's Eastern Cape provincial electoral officer Bongani Sinca said on Thursday that 99.6% of the votes had been counted in the metro, with 82.8% verified, scanned and audited.
"The results of the metro are known on the basis of what has been captured," Sinca said in East London on Thursday afternoon.
Despatch, along with Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage, is one of the three towns that make up the metro, which was won by the ANC.
The DA and Cope had hoped to unseat the ruling party in the metro by forming a coalition, but Zille said Sapa this was "pointless" as more than 50% went in ANC's favour.
According to the IEC, the ANC had won 51.91% of the vote, the Democratic Alliance 40.24% and the Congress of the People 4.95% by 17:30.