The IFP says it hasn't fared badly for a so-called dying party and it is waiting for those who wrote it off to eat humble pie.
Speaking to News24 at the Electoral Commission of South Africa's (IEC) results centre in Pretoria, IFP MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa said: "For a party that went into these elections written off by the pundits and analysts, I can only say that [it's] not bad for a so-called dying party because we have registered growth and I am very interested to hear and listen to people eat humble pie –particularly those who have written us off."
Shortly after 14:00, when 88% of voting districts had been counted, the party had 17.41% of the vote, which placed it firmly in second place in KwaZulu-Natal.
If it stays there, it will be the official opposition to the ANC in the province.
More than 500 000 votes were recorded for the party by 14:14, while the DA had more than 408 000 votes to its name.
"Having been written off, we have pushed back on all that negativity," Hlengwa said.
He added that they welcomed the results but with "caution and concern, given a number of grievances we lodged with the IEC".
These include security checks relating to indelible ink and the shortage of ballot papers, he said.
"We're are hopeful that the IEC will do the right thing and be honest in their investigation."
In 2014, the ANC won more than 2.5m votes in KZN, while the DA received 517 461, amounting to 13.35 % of vote, and the IFP with 393 949, amounting to 10.17% of the vote.
Hlengwa commended IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi, saying he carried the campaign diligently and professionally.
"He said he wanted to leave the party in a stable position."
Buthelezi announced his retirement as president of the IFP in October 2017.
News24 reported that he said he would not stand for the leadership of the organisation he founded in the mid-1970s.
However, when he was asked during a media briefing about his future political plans after the elections, Buthelezi said: "Of course I am going to Parliament", iOL reported.
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