Inkatha Freedom Party president Mangosuthu Buthelezi. (News24)
Durban – The Inkatha Freedom Party has come back with a bang and is set to be the official opposition in KwaZulu-Natal, the party's spokesperson said on Thursday.
According to the IEC website, the party had by 14:00 received 28.8% of the votes counted so far, compared to the 2011 election where the party could only muster 15.8% in the province.
Meanwhile, the African National Congress was leading with 56.8% (177 seats) and the Democratic Alliance was at 8.2% (17 seats).
IFP spokesperson Joshua Mazibuko said the party was not surprised by the elections results.
The party suffered a major blow in 2011 when one of its leaders, Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi, broke away and formed the National Freedom Party, taking a chunk of IFP votes.
"We have been seeing the trends have been showing that we have been on an upward path since 2011 NFP breakaway. We have reclaimed Nongoma from the National Freedom Party and ANC coalition, retained Nkandla and taken Umfolozi and Jozini, which we lost in the NFP-ANC coalition."
The party has taken most of the municipalities which were previously governed by the ANC and NFP.
The IFP appears to have benefited from the NFP’s exclusion from the local elections after an administrative error got the party disqualified from the 2016 local government elections.
He said it was too early to tell whether the IFP had taken the Zululand District.
Mazibuko said voters would not regret voting for the party.
The IFP has officially retained the Nkandla Municipality, although the ANC managed to hold on to Ward 14 (kwaNxamalala village, Nkandla), where President Jacob Zuma's homestead is located.
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