March 4, 2006

ANC wins in local elections

The African National Congress won 223 councils with 66.3 percent of the vote, compared with 59 percent at the last elections in 2000, the final tally showed. The Democratic Alliance won 10 councils with 14.7 percent of the vote. The Inkatha Freedom Party won 8 percent, and the Independent Democrats, 2 percent. The ANC suffered its only real setback in Cape Town, where it lost control of the city council and came in second to the Democratic Alliance. The countrywide turnout was 48 percent, about the same as in 2000.

Achieving this, the ANC said, includes ensuring that municipalities pay attention to the complaints raised by the people during the election campaign and that councilors be accessible and communicate with the people regularly about improving each district’s development plan and budget. Problems of substandard housing, poor sanitation and insufficient clean water remain acute in many areas, it said. The ANC said cooperation among local, provincial and national governments will also be crucial to achieving social gains, particularly in reducing unemployment and creating jobs. As part of the ANC’s commitment to the electorate, its candidates signed a code of conduct prior to the election pledging their adherence to high ethical standards.

"Our movement has emerged from the elections stronger than ever before, having increased its support within our system of local government," South African President Thabo Mbeki said in a statement. He promised to speed the delivery of services to millions of the poor. South Africa has made huge economic strides in the 12 years since the end of apartheid. The government has built nearly two million new homes for impoverished black South Africans,
but there has been mounting anger at the slow rate of progress. Some 16 million people out of 45 million remain without adequate sanitation, 3.7 million have no access to clean water and there are still shack settlements in most towns and villages. "The task ahead of us is to do everything in our power to honour the commitment we made to the people to implement our plan to make local government work better for all our people," Mbeki said. (Business Day, Johannesburg / Rts)

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