In an area once characterised by political intolerance but now peaceful, ANC and IFP supporters (from left), Fortunate Duma, Nonjabulo Langa and Thabisile Ndlovu walk to vote in Elandskop on Wednesday. (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)
With 100% of votes counted in KwaZulu-Natal, the ANC may have been confirmed as the official governing party in the province, but it's likely to be the IFP will celebrate the loudest after registering significant growth since the 2014 polls.
The ruling party emerged with 1 951 027 (or 54.22%) votes, lower than 2014 when they garnered 2 530 827 ballots. The DA, who managed 517 461 as opposition in 2014 ended with 500 051, while the IFP improved dramatically to 588 046 from 393 949 in 2014.
The DA and the IFP were head-to-head for much of the vote counting process, with the latter commanding a lead of just over 70 000 votes since Thursday afternoon. By Friday morning, the race between the political rivals was closer than ever, but this soon changed for the DA as the day progressed.
The IFP pulled away with well over 100 000 votes ahead of the blue party midway through the day. By nightfall, the IFP was well past the 550 000 votes mark surging ahead of the DA. The EFF also pulled in votes earning them seats in legislature with 349 361 votes.
The party has cemented itself as a player in KZN, improving dramatically from 2014's 76 384 votes.
Investigations and shooting
The IFP earlier condemned a shooting in Greytown on election day that claimed the life of one of its party agents following an altercation with other political parties.
Campaign chairperson Narend Singh said that circumstances surrounding Mthokozisi Ntuli's death just outside Vikindlala School, Ward 1 were unknown, but were being investigated. He said there was an election related dispute inside the voting station which later spilled outside the venue.
IEC provincial spokesperson Ntombifuthi Ntuli said it was thought that the NFP, IFP and ANC were involved in the shooting.
"We know that the altercation started inside the voting station. Everyone thought it was done and dusted. When they met outside a few metres from the voting station, it continued and resulted in one of the party agents being shot. The matter is being investigated by police."
She said another party agent from the NFP had been hospitalised after being seriously injured in the same incident.