PRINCE Mangosuthu Buthelezi voting at eNkonjeni, Ulundi. Sibonelo Ngcobo African News Agency (ANA)

Durban – By early afternoon on Friday the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) had emerged as the official opposition to the African National Congress (ANC) in KwaZulu-Natal after being locked in a neck-to-neck battle earlier with the Democratic Alliance (DA).

The IFP had a lead of 517,673 votes (17.39 percent) compared to the DA’s 408,924 (13.76 percent) following Wednesday’s national and provincial elections. This was after results from 88.39 percent of the province’s voting stations had been captured.

The situation remained slightly fluid still as vote counting continued.The ANC had breached the one million vote mark before 9am and was lying at 53.63 percent in the afternoon, but the results from some of the party's strongholds were still due to come in. 

IFP spokesperson Mkhuleko Nhlengwa said the party's achievements was the result of Mangosuthu Buthelezi's leadership.

"We would like to thank Prince Mongosuthu Buthelezi who has carried on his shoulders the very difficult task against vilification, against all odds, provocation and insults.

"He has led us correctly and has been able to marshal the forces so that we are able to get our ducks in a row and to drive this campaign with his experience and political sobriety," said Nhlengwa.

African News Agency (ANA)