EFF members celebrate 350 000 votes at the IEC's regional operations centre in Durban. Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo/AfricanNewsAgency (ANA)

Durban - The ANC has lost over 520 000 votes in its KwaZulu-Natal stronghold, a sharp decline which took the parties previous 64.52% majority in the 2014 elections, to just under 54% in the 2019 elections.

The results would be cause for concern for the governing party, which attributed its loss of support to poor voter turnout from its disillusioned supporters. They also blamed the strike action ahead of the elections in eThekwini as a significant factor.

But while the ANC has suffered in KZN, claiming just under 1.9 million votes in this election  compared to 2.4 million votes in 2014, the EFF and the IFP were the big winners in the province and increased their support substantially.

The numbers suggest the EFF were the biggest winners in KZN, growing almost five fold, from 70 000 votes in 2014 to 349 361 in this election. The party also received 363 832 votes for national from KZN in this election.

“We are everywhere, in the bundus, in the cities, in the squatter camps, in rural areas, every village and every corner,” said the EFF's provincial chairperson Vusi Khoza.

EFF KZN chairperson Vusi Khoza comments about the EFF's progress in KZN. Video: Nqobile Mbonambi / African News Agency / ANA
EFF KZN chairperson Vusi Khoza said the party campaigned 'everywhere' in the province. Video: Sihle Mlambo

The IFP was also buoyant in KZN, as it eclipsed the DA and became the official opposition in the province again.

It claimed 588 046 votes in the 2019 elections, compared to just over 415 000 in the 2014 elections. The result, was a 170 000 new votes for the party. In KZN, more than 530 000 people voted for the IFP in the national vote.

The IFP’s secretary general, Velenkosini Hlabisa, said their performance in the elections would have been far better had the voter turnout been better. Areas such as Ulundi and Nongoma, IFP strongholds, were among the areas with the Top 10 lowest voter turnout in the province.

He said as the official opposition in the province, they would be a strong voice that offered practical solutions.

“We regained more seats while the ANC and the DA declined in terms of seats.

“The IFP attracted votes from ANC, DA and NFP, because all three declined. Those supporters gave their trust to the IFP because our manifesto was practical.

“We were specific on how job opportunities should be created, how crime should be fought and what steps should be taken by the government to deal with unemployed graduates and how the government  can tackle the issue of housing to eliminate the issue of people living in shacks,” said Hlabisa.

The IFP has secured 14 seats in the provincial legislature.

The DA grew by just over 10 000 votes in the province and was especially dominant in the more affluent coastal towns of the province. The party went from 489 430 votes in 2014 to 500 051 in this election. 

DA KZN leader Zwakele Mncwango said they were pleased with their 200 000 votes from rural KZN, which he said laid a good foundation for the party ahead of 2021 local government elections.

Velenkosini Hlabisa of the IFP with Zwakele Mncwango of the DA at the IEC elections centre in Durban. Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo/AfricanNewsAgency (ANA)

“We always said we want to drop the ANC below 50%, as much as we did not achieve that, I am excited lost 8 seats and the arrogance they had during the seats, it is clear now that it will end and we will hold the ANC to account with the opposition,” he said.

The EFF's Khoza celebrated with the red beret wearing ‘fighters’ at the IEC’s KZN elections operation centre in Mayville on Friday by bursting into song when the monitors showed the party had eclipsed 300 000 votes. They ended up with 8 seats in the KZN Legislature for their 349 000 votes.

Khoza said the five fold growth of the party, which saw its support rocket from 70 000 votes in 2014 was because of the dedication of its ‘ground forces’, who embarked on door-to-door campaigns across the province.

He said the EFF had the most vibrant campaign and said they were capable of poaching votes from all parties, not just the ANC.

ANC KZN’s deputy chairperson, Mike Mabuyakhulu, said the party would analyse results data to determine the party’s performance in the elections.

“We are concerned about ourselves and not other political parties. We will do an analysis and that analysis will determine if we have lost any votes to any other political parties,” he said.

Provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli said the party was committed to work harder in eradicating poverty, inequality and unemployment.

“Credit must also be given to political parties for running a competitive and robust campaign throughout the election period,” he said.

Sunday Tribune