May 23, 2011

Biggest voter turnout in municipal poll since 1994

With 57.6% voter turn-out, the biggest in local government elections ever since 1994, the African National Congress won the highest number of seats and councils. In 2000 the turnout was 48% while at the local government elections in 2006 it was 48,4%.
As the results published by the Electoral Commission (IEC) of South Africa show, the ANC won 198 councils and 5.633 seats constituting 62% of the vote in the Local Government Elections (compared to 67 % in 2006). The Democratic Alliance came second with 18 councils, 1.555 seats and 23.9% support (compared to 14 percent in 2006). The ANC and DA are followed by the Inkatha Freedom Party and the Congress of the People, which won control of five councils and two councils respectively.

Speaking at the ceremony to declare the results, President Jacob Zuma said that he was encouraged at the voter turnout in an election he described as being “about bread and butter issues”. "People identified service delivery as an issue ... they decided that this election will be about the delivery of basic services," he said. "It came down to bread and a butter issue as any municipal election should ... It indicates how citizens understand democracy." He said this election catapulted local government into the "mainstream" and would dispel perceptions that local government was the least important state sphere. Zuma commended the commission and their ability to deliver a "free and fair election at all times".

IEC chairperson, Dr Brigalia Bam praised the election as the most exciting and incident free. "As we celebrate the completion of the fourth local government elections in a free South Africa, I pay tribute to South Africans, especially the voters for actively embracing democracy and I salute my colleagues, the IEC team, which has substantially contributed to the evolution and dynamic growth of our electoral democracy," she said.
"For the past 17 years, our democracy has been enhanced by the holding of free and fair elections. The recent local government elections are yet another milestone in the evolution of our democracy," she added.

IEC Chief Electoral Officer, Pansy Tlakula, also thanked South Africans for embracing democracy. "We have broken an international trend where elections and local government elections in particular progressively produce a lower voter turnout. Our target was to reach a 40% voter turnout. I am pleased to announce that the voter turnout for the 2011 municipal elections was 57.6%. I wish to applaud all South Africans who came out in their numbers to cast their votes on May 18 2011. Irrespective of who won the elections, our democracy has grown and matured further," said Tlakula.

According to the IEC 1,89% of all votes cast were spoilt votes. This was a decline over the 2,27% of votes spoilt in the 2006 elections. Tlakula said that there were 63 objections raised by political parties, but these had all been resolved. “Not a single party has refused to accept the outcome of these elections.”

In Tshwane Municipality, the African National Congress won with 408.413 provincial (PR) votes (56,46%) and 391.954 ward votes (54,18%) - a total of 800.367 valid votes (55,32%). It secured 68 out of 105 ward seats and 118 out of 210 seats in total. The Democratic Alliance secured a total of 559,286 valid votes, 39,05% of the total. It won 82 seats (including 37 ward seats.) 55,32% of registered voters went to the polls, with 1,32% of all ballots spoilt. The ANC increased its number of valid votes by 312.974 to a jump of 64,21%.

The ANC also won control of the eThekwini Metro (Durban), receiving 1.186.153 votes and, as a result, secured 126 seats out of a total of 205 seats. The party received 61.5% of the 1.927.561 votes cast while the DA was the second-largest party, with 21% of the vote that secured them 43 seats. The Minority Front (MF) was the third-largest party receiving 103.043 votes and securing 11 seats. The Inkatha Freedom Party which in 2006 had secured 11% of the vote in 2006, along with 23 seats, saw its share of the vote in the municipality fall to 4.16% of the vote. It only secured one ward seat and its total number of seats fell to nine. The National Freedom Party, which was formed three months ago by former IFP chairwoman Zanele Magwaza-Msibi, received more votes and secured 10 seats. The ANC, the DA, the MF were the only parties that won ward seats. The remaining parties secured the balance of seats through the proportional representation vote. Only the ANC and the DA increased their support compared with the 2006 local government election, with a 2.67% and 4.16% increase in support, respectively. The IFP saw its support fall by 7.19% from the 2006 election.

Moreover, in KwaZulu-Natal the ruling party a secured a massive voter turnout and raised its support from 2.4 million votes in 2006 to 4.2 million this year.

The ANC has also won control of the Johannesburg metro, receiving more than 1.2 million votes. According to the final results, the ANC received 1.272.354 votes and as a result secured a total of 153 seats out of a total of 260 seats. The party received 59% of the 2.154.506 votes cast, while the Democratic Alliance was the second largest party with almost 35% of the vote, securing 90 seats. The Inkatha Freedom Party and Congress of the People secured four and three seats respectively. The ANC, DA and IFP were the only parties to win wards while the other 10 parties secured seats by proportional representation.

Only in Cape Town, the only major DA-controlled metro, the ANC remained second. The DA secured 135 seats, followed by the ANC with 73. The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) and Congress of the People (COPE) obtained three seats each. In percent, the DA retained 60,92% of the vote in the city while the ANC stood at 32,80%. Provincially, the DA took 440 seats, while the ANC had 283. This was followed by COPE with eight seats and ACPD with seven. Voter turnout for the City of Cape Town stood at 64.66%, up from 49.81% in 2006. For the province, there was a 64.37% voter turnout, up from 51.79% in 2006.

For detailed results see: http://www.elections.org.za/ (Mail & Guardian/Sadocc)

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