Pretoria - The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) looks to be regaining lost ground in its stronghold province of KwaZulu-Natal where early election results show it putting in a strong showing behind the African National Congress (ANC).
By 7am on Wednesday, with just over 150 000 votes counted, the ANC was leading with just under 80,000 votes, followed by the IFP on 32 700 and the Democratic Alliance (DA) with 18 000.
The DA is the official opposition in the province but a resurgent IFP is putting up a solid push for the title of official opposition which it lost to the DA in the 2014 general election.
In neighbouring Eastern Cape, with 443 000 votes counted, the ANC was leading with 307 000, followed by the DA with 78x000 and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) with just under 30 000.
The ANC is the governing party in the province but in the 2016 local government elections saw a coalition of the DA and EFF take control of Nelson Mandela Bay which includes Port Elizabeth, before that coalition collapsed amid acrimony.
African News Agency/ANA