By ZINE GEORGE, SIPHE MACANDA, SILUSAPHO NYANDA, LULAMILE FENI, MKHULULI NDAMASE, RAY HARTLE
The ANC was reeling late last night from possible local government election defeats in Nelson Mandela Bay and other major metros, even as it was buoyed by strong mandates in Buffalo City Metro and King Sabata Dalindyebo councils.
“We will be the biggest party in Nelson Mandela Bay and we are looking forward to forming a government in the metro,” said Democratic Alliance mayoral candidate for the city Athol Trollip, with about 90% of the vote counted.
ANC provincial executive committee member Andile Lungisa conceded that there would no “outright” winner in NMB.
Trollip pooh-poohed ANC claims that votes from outstanding wards would return the metro to the ruling party, saying the wards would not materially affect the outcome.
Last night IEC provincial head Thabo Mraji said the final reuslts for NMB and Buffalo City City will be announced this morning.
Tensions had run high throughout the day in Nelson Mandela Bay as the two parties were neck and neck in the count. By late afternoon, with 87% of the votes tallied in the Bay, the DA was at 49.49%, with the ANC lagging at 39.25% of the vote. The EFF managed 4.6%.
Trollip called the election for the DA shortly before 7pm last night.
The ANC’s concerns were also focused on Gauteng, where a DA-led Tshwane and City of Joburg seemed like a possibility.
By 6.30pm last night, with 48.8% of the votes captured in the capital city, the ANC had 43%, the DA had 42.8% while the EFF appeared to be the possible kingmaker with 10.3% of the vote. The latter has made it clear that they would not go into a coalition with the ANC.
EFF national chairman Dali Mpofu said that they would consider a coalition with the DA.
“We said we’ll partner with any party…any party but the ANC. What we will not do as a matter of principle is to return ANC through the back door‚” he said.
In Joburg the ANC and the DA were at 41% and 43.3% but 70% of the wards across the city were still outstanding.
In what must now be seen as consolation wins, the ANC made a strong showing in Buffalo City Metro, claiming two formerly DA wards and retaining all of its own seats and winning 56.47% of available votes against the DA’s 27.94% and the EFF’s 7.37%.
The ANC made a near clean sweep in the King Sabata Dalindyebo municipality, securing 35 seats in the 36-seat council, with the remaining ward being won by the United Democratic Movement.
The ANC was also anticipating a strong showing in OR Tambo municipality late yesterday, but the final tally was only expected overnight as outstanding wards reported results.
ANC provincial chairman and Eastern Cape premier Phumulo Masualle sa id despite challenges in NMB, “we have seen the restoration of the confidence in the ANC”.
Of BCM, Masualle said: “We have done a fair amount of work. We have changed the fortunes with the leadership that we introduced there, and we think that we have done sufficiently to win the confidence of the people there.”
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa’s home ward of Mqanduli also fell to the ANC juggernaut.
The ANC victory was enthusiastically applauded by OR Tambo ANC regional secretary Lulama Ngukayithobi, who said: “This is wonderful, the people have spoken and proved that they still have confidence in us. They have again entrusted their hopes to us. Our task is now to deliver on our commitments.”
In OR Tambo, the impact of the decision by disaffected ANC ward councillors to join the Mthatha Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association was not immediately clear from the results available yesterday.
Masualle issued a strong warning to newly-elected ward councillors not to quit their current residences for the leafy suburbs.
Masualle said ward councillors were obliged to live in the ward in which they were nominated.
Despite the assassination a few weeks before the election of its council candidate Nceba Dywili in Walmer (Ward 4) in Port Elizabeth, the ANC still won 78% of the votes.
The ANC said that voters in Port St John’s Ward 7 and Mbashe’s Ward 17 had also overwhelmingly voted for the party, even though both respective candidates were deceased.
Mraji announced the ANC had retained Umzimvubu local municipality, securing 77.15% of the vote versus the DA’s 7.2% and the UDM’s 6.38%); Inxuba Yethemba in Cradock (58.4% versus the DA’s 39%); Ngqushwa (84.4% v EFF 7.99%); Great Kei (70.78% v DA 19.13% and Independent 4.93%); Koukamma (50.87% v DA 43.66%); Camdeboo (51.05% v DA 46.59%); Blue Crane (60.4% v DA 37.57%); Ndlambe (62.19 v DA 30.79%) and Sundays River (71% v DA 21%).
The ANC lost Kouga municipality – centred on Humansdorp and Jeffrey’s Bay – to the DA, in one of the early results announced yesterday.
Mraji said only one objection had been registered, after a political party found “there were disparities between ward, proportional representation and district council results at a Blue Crane voting station, Glen Avon.” — Additional reporting by Yoliswa Sobuwa and Avuyile Mngxitama-Diko