ANC takes KZN as final votes are tallied
Published April 17th 2004 in The Mail and Guardian
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has completed the final tally of the voting results in KwaZulu-Natal, it said in a statement on Saturday afternoon. The African National Congress was the overall leader, managing to clock up 46.98% of the votes in the hotly contested province.

The Inkatha Freedom Party achieved 36.82% and its coalition partner, the Democratic Alliance, had 8.35%, while the IFP's other alliance partner, the Freedom Front Plus received 0.28% of the poll.

The Minority Front had 2.61%, the African Christian Democratic Party 1.78%, the United Democratic Movement 0.75% and the New National Party 0.52%.

"The process could not have been made possible without the combined efforts of a team of committed staffers dedicated to a free and fair electoral process in this region," the statement said.

The IEC thanked the voters of KwaZulu-Natal, as well as all political stakeholders for their support and transparent communication.

It also extended its gratitude to the observer missions as well as key government department and agencies and the police and security core "who provided the infra-structure to make the voting possible in all 3,616 voting districts in the province".

The IEC also thanked the media who it said "reported the proceedings in a constructive manner".

"We are pleased to announce that voting took place in a climate conducive to free and fair elections and that no incidents of intimidation or prevention of voting by one party or other was allowed at any of the voting stations," the statement said.

DA declares itself SA's fastest growing party
DA 's chief campaign spokesperson Douglas Gibson said in a statement on Saturday that his party was the fastest growing party in South Africa.

According Gibson, the DA grew by more, both in absolute and relative terms, than any other party in the country.

He said that with only 10 voting districts outstanding, the DA had 1,924 864 votes, about 400,000 more votes than the then-Democratic Party got in 1999.

The statement said that the DA grew by more votes than the total votes received by the fourth biggest party -- the United Democratic Movement.

"Even the Africa National Congress only grew by about 260,000 votes. No other opposition party showed significant growth in absolute terms."

According to Gibson, the DA also increased the most in relative terms: "the 12.35% received in this election represents an increase of about 30% on our 1999 support (9.56%).

"The ANC increased to 69.68% -- a five percent increase on its 1999 support (66.35%)."

He said that together, the DA and the Inkatha Freedom Party have 20% of the vote.

ANC celebrates landslide victory
On Friday night, in a packed hall charged with festivity, South African President Thabo Mbeki said that 70% of voters had rejected the critics of the African National Congress.

"They made it clear they refused to be moved away from voting against their own interests," he said at an ANC victory party at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg to celebrate the party's landslide election victory.

After an election campaign in which the ANC was noted for its having almost ignored its competition and criticism, Mbeki said many stories had been invented about the ANC.

"It is said that we have lost contact with the people, that people are angry and disillusioned with the ANC because we have failed to respond their aspirations, that the failure of the ANC has led to apathy and disillusionment among the youth; that only the cronies benefit and they are little more than a bunch of corrupt individuals intent on stealing from the country; that traditional leaders are disappointed... that the tripartite alliance (between the ANC, the Congress of SA Trade Unions and the SA Communist Party) is paralyzed by internal fighting."

The country had rejected all these false accusations, Mbeki said.

Mbeki thanked all political parties for the way they handled themselves in the voting process and thanked "all party political leaders who have already congratulated us.

"Congratulations to all of them, whether they won or lost," he said to cheers of laughter.

"Our message is that there is life after elections. We invite them to join the people's contract to make sure all people unite in a national movement."

Mbeki also said it was important that the government responded to the people's wishes as soon as possible.

"We must now not allow this mandate to encourage an attitude of arrogance amongst ourselves," Mbeki said. "Our people have charged us with the responsibility of creating a better life for all."

Mbeki stressed that the ANC was a movement for the poor "regardless of race, age and gender.

"They (voters) are confident we shall fight tuberculosis, Aids, malaria, diabetes and other diseases."

He also said ANC voters knew that an ANC government would never forget its international obligations to the people of Africa and the world... "in the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo), in Burundi, Liberia, Cote D'Ivoire... Zimbabwe, Haiti, Palestine, Israel, Iran."

Mbeki began his speech with a quip that he had been told that the ANC had already chosen Mosiuoa "Terror" Lekota as premier for KwaZulu-Natal.

He was referring to a leaflet that had circulated in the province, claiming that this would be an appropriate appointment as he was Sotho and the province was not yet ready for a Xhosa leader.

"Congratulations, Comrade Terror," he said to much laughter.

ANC wins Cape Town in poll
The African National Congress snatched political control of the City of Cape Town metropolitan council two years ago when the New National Party councillors defected from the Democratic Alliance -- but now the national ruling party has won the most votes of any party in the city.

Wednesday's election results -- while representing the provincial vote for the Western Cape legislature from the Cape Town area -- show that if an election were held tomorrow the ANC would most likely emerge as the overall winner.

The ANC pulled in 454,282 votes or 44.09% of the vote -- which, if translated into a system that is half ward councillors and half proportional representation, would probably ensure it victory in the 200-seat council.

Municipal elections are scheduled for late in 2005. In the municipal election of 2000 the DA won a majority in the new metro. It was the only metro council not ruled by the ANC at the time in the country.

The DA gained 280,266 votes or 27.2% in the metro and Patricia de Lille's Independent Democrats won 82,749 or 8.03% - just behind the NNP's 10.83% or 111,548.

The African Christian Democratic Party got 3.74% of the vote on Wednesday in South Africa's Mother City and other parties which would get seats if a municipal poll were held tomorrow include the Pan Africanist Congress, the Freedom Front Plus and the African Muslim Party. - Staff reporters, Sapa, I-Net Bridge