KwaZulu-Natal remains firmly in the hands of the African National Congress, where it even managed to buck the trend by increasing its share of the vote in Wednesday’s municipal elections.
The party picked up 57.48 percent of the vote in the province, which is a slight improvement on its performance of 56.79 percent in the 2011 local government elections.
The ANC even increased the actual number of votes it picked up, from 3.184 million to 3.728 million. Its share of the vote in a number of municipalities increased, especially in places such as Newcastle, where it increased its share of the vote from 53.27 percent in 2011 to 61.2 percent.
In Msunduzi (Pietermaritzburg), the KwaZulu-Natal capital, the ANC also grew its share of the vote slightly.
However, this is unlikely to result in an increased number of municipalities under its control, as in many of the municipalities it governed in coalition with the National Freedom Party – an Inkatha Freedom Party breakaway.
In 2011 the ANC had outright control of 28 municipalities and led in 41. Subsequent negotiations saw it gain control of 20 more municipalities where it governed in coalition with the NFP.
Apart from in the municipality of Nquthu, the NFP disappeared from the local government map it had hit with such a storm in 2011 when it took 10.39 percent of the vote. The party failed to pay its registration fees in time for the June 2 deadline that would have allowed it to participate in the 2016 elections.
As a result of these elections the ANC has outright control of 31 municipalities and leads in a further five. Two of those five could be decided on the toss of a coin and in Nquthu it is not known whether the two NFP councilors who hold the balance of power will again enter into a coalition with the ANC.
It will be in eThekwini (Durban) where the ANC will be worried. The province’s only metro, like others in the country, saw a shift towards the Democratic Alliance which increased its share of the vote, from 21.02 percent in 2011 to 26.92 percent. In Durban the non-participation of the NFP did not play a big role. Rather it was the poor performance of the Minority Front and the unhappiness within the ANC over the nomination of candidates, which resulted in four independents being elected.
The ANC still retains control of the metro with 56.01 percent of the vote. But this is down from the 61 percent it had in 2011.
The Inkatha Freedom Party saw its share of the vote in the province climb to 18.39 percent. It has outright control of six municipalities, including Nkandla – President Jacob Zuma’s hometown.
It could govern in a few more municipalities depending on whether it can work out a coalition deal with smaller parties. In one case it will need to get three parties on board simply to tie with the ANC. In which case the toss of a coin will decide who governs the Estcourt/Loskop municipality.
One municipality where the DA benefited from the NFP’s failure to participate in the local government elections was eDumbe (Paulpietersburg).
In 2011 the NFP was the largest party. The DA managed to pick up five seats to the eight of the ANC. But the IFP has picked up three seats and if the IFP and DA agree to a coalition, which will tie the municipality, it will be the toss of a coin that decides who governs. If the coin toss goes the way of the DA-led coalition, the municipality will be the first in the province to be governed by the DA.
The ANC’s provincial leaders are expected to address the media later on Saturday over the party’s performance in the province. – ANA