Metros still in the balance as results trickle in
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Cape Town - It’s too early to call the outcome in Nelson Mandela Bay, Tshwane and Johannesburg - expected to be the most closely contested of the big metros.
But with 30 percent of voting districts counted, the ANC had 50.13 percent of the vote at national level, the DA 33.48 percent and the EFF 6.25 percent, followed by the IFP at 3.48 percent and the FF Plus 1.15 percent.
The ANC had won seven councils to the DA’s two and had a total of 382 seats – 16 of them via the proportional representation vote.
The DA had 196 seats, 21 of them through the PR system and the EFF had 5 PR and no ward seats.
However, the bulk of the counted voting stations are in sparsely populated areas, meaning the picture is likely to change dramatically in the coming hours as results come in from more densely populated township voting districts, where the ANC has been stronger in previous elections and where the EFF will also be hoping to lift its current standing.
One of the most dramatic trends to have emerged so far is a slump in support for ANC breakaway party COPE, which suffered a similar decline in the 2014 national and provincial elections.
In two Northern Cape councils where counting had been completed in the early hours of this morning, COPE had dropped from 30.03 percent of the vote in Thembelihle to a paltry 5.29 percent this time around, and in Kamiesberg from 11.2 percent to 0.80 percent.
The DA and EFF appear to have been the beneficiaries of COPE’s implosion in both towns, while the ANC remained more or less static.
With 12.6 percent of voting stations counted in Nelson Mandela Bay, the DA had 55.21 percent to the ANC’s 33.86 percent, with the EFF a distant third on 3.94 percent.
In Tshwane, with 7.92 percent of voting districts counted, the ANC was on 44.86 percent, the DA on 42.26 and the EFF on 8.63 percent.
In Johannesburg, with 9.26 percent of voting districts counted, the DA had 39.81 percent, the ANC 45.53 percent and the EFF 9.16 percent.
The DA appeared to be on track to retain the Midvaal council in Gauteng, having won 71.07 percent of the vote, with 44.44 percent of voting districts counted, compared to the ANC’s 21.26 percent and the EFF’s 3.72 percent.
Parties were brimming with confidence as early results trickled in, with ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe declaring his belief that his party would win a majority in Nelson Mandela Bay, Tshwane and Johannesburg, as well as forcing the DA below 50 percent in Cape Town.
Fortunes changed back and forth in the course of the night, with the DA claiming the first voting district to be announced in the Great Kei municipality in the Eastern Cape, before rapidly forfeiting its lead to the ANC.
While later results from densely populated areas tend to give the ANC a surge towards the end of counting, it has a long way to go to avoid dipping below 60 percent.
Voter turnout was looking strong in early counting at 58.56 percent, with 17.96 percent of stations counted.
* Check all the elections results here.