Cope President Mosiuoa Lekota interacts with a resident of Sharpville (Karabo Ngoepe, News24)
Cape Town – Congress of the People's mayoral candidate in Cape Town was gracious in defeat as counting wrapped up at the IEC's results centre in the province.
"The election was a tremendous success, but not so much for the Congress of the People," said Farouk Cassim.
"I wish it were but it wasn't," he said, adding that he at least did not promise to eat his hat over his results which came in at 0.39% of the vote and three seats.
Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota kept his word and took a fake bite out of a hat after preliminary results in 2014 showed that the party had lost more than a million votes compared to the 2009 national elections.
The party was born out of a power struggle between supporters of former president Thabo Mbeki and President Jacob Zuma.
After a good showing, a leadership battle between Lekota and Mbhazima Shilowa all but crippled the party.
Council chambers will never be the same – EFF
READ ELECTION WRAP: Political party horse trading starts as election results trickle in
A Zen-like Cassim said the results were very good for democracy with some struggling to gain votes, and others "valiantly struggling to lose votes".
"Though some of us would have lost, democracy itself would have gained.
"It was nice to write for the last two weeks 'Cope's mayoral candidate', but that has now been withdrawn," he said to clucks of sympathy from hardened politicians and members of the press.
"A tremendous thank you from the Congress of the People," he said to the IEC staff.
However, EFF provincial secretary Melikhaya Xego was feeling upbeat with the party's performance in the province after it got 2.6% of the vote for its first municipal election.
Although the number was relatively low compared with the big guns, he promised that its councillors were going to make a lot of noise.
"The council chambers will never be the same with the red berets," he said with a twinkle in his eye.
- Find everything you need to know about the 2016 Local Government Elections at our News24 Elections site, including the latest news and detailed, interactive maps for how South Africa has voted over the past 3 elections, or download the app for iOS and Android.