Parties’ bravado fades

2019-05-10 15:21
An election poster lies on the ground in Woodhouse Road.

An election poster lies on the ground in Woodhouse Road.

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WATCH LIVE: Mmusi Maimane addresses IEC results centre floor

2019-05-10 11:48

DA leader Mmusi Maimane addresses the IEC results centre floor as final results stream in at the ROC in Pretoria. Watch live. WATCH

KwaZulu-Natal political parties were last night on tenterhooks as vote-counting in the province continued until late on Thursday evening, with no clear winner having emerged in polls dogged by claims of double-voting. 

Counting began slowly in the early hours of on Thursday and by 9 am less than 10% of the vote had been captured.

At that point representatives of KZN’s major political parties — the ANC, DA, IFP and EFF — who had gathered at the provincial Independent Electoral (IEC) results centre in Durban oozed confidence, with each one of them predicting an outright majority for their respective parties.

However, as the day progressed, with parties realising that they could miss their stated targets, the bravado earlier shown by party leaders had vanished.

At around 8 pm and with about 40% of the vote counted, the ANC, which during campaigning predicted that it would improve on its 64% performance in the previous general elections, stood at around 55% — a trend repeated in the national results where party support was by late evening hovering around 56%. This after close to 50% of the national vote had been counted.

ANC heavyweight Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who dropped by the provincial IEC results centre late on Thursday afternoon, was coy when asked if she thought her party was still on track for a resounding victory. “All I can say at this stage is that we worked hard during the elections campaign and are hoping for the best,” she said.

DA provincial leader Zwakele Mncwango, whose party predicted that it would increase support in the province to 18% from 12% in the previous general elections, could only say “we are doing fine”.

“As the DA we are still confident that we will improve from our performance in the previous general elections,” he said.

The DA, which garnered close to half-a-million votes in the previous polls, by late last night stood at 140 000 votes with close to 40% of votes counted.

Out of all the KZN major political parties, the EFF is the only party that registered big successes.

The party, which in the 2014 general elections garnered 70 000 votes in the province, was by late evening sitting on 100 000 votes.

EFF provincial chairperson Vusi Khoza said he was excited about the figures that had been coming in since Thursday morning.

“We have always made it clear that we want to get an outright majority in KZN so that we could fully implement our policies — including the expropriation of land without compensation.

“However, if it happens that we govern through a coalition then we will respect that as it would be the wish of the voters,” he said.

With about 200 000 votes, the IFP —which received 416 000 votes in the 2014 polls, was by late evening ahead of the DA and EFF.

However, the picture was likely to change as votes from big urban areas, including eThekwini and Pietermaritzburg, begin to filter in from this morning.

Both the DA and EFF are likely to receive a bigger share of the eThekwini and Pietermaritzburg vote compared to the IFP, whose stronghold is mainly in rural towns — particularly in the northern parts of the province.

IFP member of Parliament Narend Singh said the party was still confident that it would receive enough votes to become the KZN provincial legislature’s official opposition. “We are coming from a very low base as everyone would know that we didn’t do very well in the 2014 general elections,” he said.

In KZN, about 5,3 million people registered to vote in Wednesday’s elections, however, with about 40% of the votes counted, voter turnout stood at 65% — much lower than the predicted 70%.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  elections

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