KwaZulu-Natal had a free and fair local government election on May 18, the province’s electoral chief said today.
“The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is satisfied that we had free and fair local government election,” said Mawethu Mosery.
He was speaking during the declaration of results at the International Convention Centre in Durban.
They were free and fair because the IEC received eight objections in the province this year compared to 60 in 2006, said Mosery.
The commission did not rule in favour of six of the eight objections.
The remaining two would be investigated, he said, adding that complaints were also minimal.
The commission received 24 complaints from political parties in the run-up to the municipal elections this year compared to 180 in 2006.
“This shows that we had very peaceful elections. The police also only dealt with 180 cases related to elections compared to 500 during the previous elections,” he said.
The commission attributed the low levels of intimidation and political intolerance to the efforts by political parties and the government in election education.
Said Mosery: “The task team, led by (the provincial) safety and community liaison MEC Willies Mchunu, has done a wonderful job. We need to make sure that it continues after these elections.”
The task team comprised of representatives from different political parties and government officials.
Mosery commended political parties for their hard work in encouraging people to vote.
KwaZulu-Natal had a 61.53% voter turn out which exceeded the national average by 12%. The voters’ roll registered just more than 4.6 million people and 2.8 million had voted.
The ANC secured 982 of the 1 954 seats available in the KwaZulu-Natal municipalities.
It was followed by the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) with 369 seats and the National Freedom Party (NFP) – IFP’s breakaway party – with 227 seats.
The ANC obtained an outright majority in 50 municipalities, IFP in six, and the NFP in two.
KwaZulu-Natal has 51 local and 11 district municipalities. There were only three municipalities that did not show a clear majority.
In 2006, the IFP had secured the highest number of municipalities in the province.
The party’s sharp decline was believed to be due to the resignation of senior members, to form the splinter NFP, together with the ANC’s growth in its strongholds.
The DA had increased its presence in KwaZulu-Natal by obtaining 147 seats.