Dramatic turnaround for IFP

2016-08-05 09:31
IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi's party appears to have become the most popular opposition party in KZN.

IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi's party appears to have become the most popular opposition party in KZN. (File)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Early results from Wednesday’s local government elections indicate that the IFP has staged a dramatic turnaround from its poor performance in the 2011 elections, possibly becoming the most popular opposition party in the province.

The party had been written off by many after it won only two municipalities outright in the 2011 elections. It won majorities at other municipalities, but not large enough to prevent the ANC and NFP from banding together to govern.

It subsequently lost its status as the official opposition in KZN in the 2014 national and provincial elections. On Thursday, however, it emerged that it had won six municipalities outright and was leading in two others as votes continued to stream in.

The party took President Jacob Zuma’s hometown, Nkandla, with 54% of the votes. The IFP had won the municipality in the 2011 elections, but was un­able to govern as the ANC formed a co­alition with the NFP to wrest control.

However, the municipality was back in IFP hands in 2012 after it won a by-election in Zuma’s ward.

The party has now snatched Hluhluwe and Mthonjaneni from the ANC-NFP coalition, and also won the Nquthu municipality, but not with an outright majority.

If the party wants to govern that municipality, it will have to form a coalition with smaller parties.

It was announced that the IFP won 43,9% of the votes, the ANC 42,13%, the NFP — which only contested in Nquthu after its local representatives paid their own registration fee — five percent, the EFF three percent and the DA two percent, with the rest going to independent candidates.

The party also led in Nongoma and Ulundi, and was neck-and-neck with the ANC in three other municipalities.

The IFP trailed the ANC by just two percent in Estcourt, while just about one percent separated the parties in Jozini and Mtubatuba.

Reacting to the results, IFP national chairperson Blessed Gwala thanked “the voters for the trust they have given us”.

“We promise them that the IFP will adhere to the letter and spirit of the manifesto that we used during the campaign,” he said.

University of KwaZulu-Natal political analyst Zakhele Ndlovu said the IFP had run a good campaign, which had yielded results. “I think the IFP has done exceptionally well. I predicted that they would rekindle from the ground. Even if the NFP had contested these elections, the IFP would have done well.

“I think the NFP would have done dismally. If you look at the 2014 elections results, where many predicted the NFP would become the official opposition in KZN, they did not do well.

“By that time, the IFP had already started regaining some lost ground; it won some by-elections. We must give credit to IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi for making sure that the party recovers after that NFP split,” he said.

The party still had a chance to govern in coalition with other parties in at least six municipalities that look set to be hung.

Jozini, Nquthu, Mtubatuba, Mfolozi, Abaqulusi and Estcourt are all likely not to have an outright winner.

While the Nquthu situation remains tricky — as the NFP and ANC are unlikely to form a coalition with the IFP — the DA look set to be the kingmakers at the five other municipalities.

Gwala said his party was open to forming coalitions. “In any democratic world, coalitions are possible. We will assess the results gained by other political parties and decide as a collective what is best for South Africa,” he said.

Ndlovu said neither the DA nor the IFP was likely to form coalitions with the ANC.

Meanwhile, the ANC looks set to retain all the municipalities in the uMgungundlovu District.

The party had already won six of the seven municipalities where counting had been finished on Thursday, and was leading in the remaining one. The party won 76% of the votes in Richmond, 66,9% in Mkhambathini, 72,67% in uMshwathi, 73,36% in Mooi-Mpofana, 90% in Impendle and 55,79% in uMngeni, where the DA made good strides, winning 41,12% of the votes. The party also led with 67% in Msunduzi, but with many votes still outstanding.

The ANC remained dominant in KwaZulu-Natal, winning close to 20 municipalities where counting had been finished, and leading in many others where counting continued at the time of going to print on Thursday.

ANC provincial spokesperson Mdumiseni Ntuli said the latest results indicated that the party had improved from its 2011 showing.

“We have won new municipalities that were not governed by us. We have won outright eDumbe, Bergville, uMvoti and others that we previously co-governed with the NFP,” he said.

Ntuli said the party would consider coalitions at hung municipalities.

“We want all municipalities to work efficiently. We would not want a situation where service delivery has to take a back seat because there was no outright winner in that municipality. I am sure the IFP also would not like that,” he said

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  election  |  ifp

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.