Kimberley - The ANC was hoping to increase its majority in the Northern Cape to 70 percent on Wednesday.

ANC provincial chairman John Block and his wife Noluthando cast their votes at the Kimberley Homing Pigeon Club.

Block added that he was confident that the party would retain the province.

“There will be no coalition government in the Northern Cape. We will continue to increase the number of votes for the ANC in every election,” Block, wearing an ANC leather jacket, stated.

“We are looking at winning 70 percent of the votes – if we get more it will be a bonus.”

He dismissed threats from other opposition parties, slamming Cope’s existence as “not a reality”.

“Their members have come over to us,” he said. “There will not be a coalition government in the Northern Cape.”

Block added that the fact that he was voting in a DA stronghold was sending a message that the ANC was making inroads in opposition areas.

“This has not been an election campaign for us. We have consistently been carrying on with our work, doing what is necessary.”

Referring to the relaxation of the province’s liquor licencing laws, which will allow pubs, bars and taverns to remain open 24 hours a day in the week following the elections, Block said this had followed an application from a liquor outlet.

“We received the application and placed it in the government gazette for objections. There were none, so it was agreed to relax the regulations.”

He added that this was not a decision his department (Finance, Economic Affairs and Tourism) could take on its own. “This isn’t an electioneering ploy,” he replied to media questions. “You will lose votes if you do that.”

Turning to disruptions in the John Taolo Gaetsewe District, Block said this was an old issue that had already been resolved. “There is a pocket of people who are consistently unhappy, irrespective of whether their grievances have been addressed.

“People can’t think it is their right to burn down a school. They need to exercise their democratic rights at the polling stations.”

Discussing the party’s premier candidate, he said the Northern Cape Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) would submit three names for consideration to national. “Any of the candidates on our list are capable of running the province, and the ANC will give whoever is selected its full support.”

He refused, however, to be drawn into speculation on the names of the three candidates or whether his own name would be included. “I can’t say what the PEC will decide or comment on whether I will accept the position if it is offered to me.”

Block added that he was feeling very confident about Friday, when the Northern Cape High Court will make a decision on an application to have fraud charges against him dropped.

“I have been confident all the time. The court case has been a draining experience but it is something one has to go through and I will survive. I still maintain my innocence and I am confident that Friday will be a good day for me.”

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