As the dust is settling on the local municipal elections held on 3 August, it is now time for political parties in the Free State province to adapt and implement what they promised the masses.
Approximately 829 349 voters made their way to the 1530 voting stations in the province to cast their votes – a voter turnout of 56.24%. In Manguang 243 545 people cast their votes, a turnout of 57.28%.
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said in a statement it was pleased to report that it had successfully held the Local Government Elections. The capturing of results was completed in the early hours of Friday morning.
In the Mangaung Metro Municipality the African National Congress (ANC) received 56.77% (135 294) of the votes, followed by the Democratic Alliance with 26.20% (62 449) and EFF with 8.84% (21 079) of the votes.
Mangaung Metro has 100 councillors, with the ANC claiming 38 wards, followed by the DA with 12. No independent candidate succeeded in winning any ward. The proportional councillors were divided as follows: ANC (20), DA (15), EFF (9),VFPlus (2), AIC (2), ANA (1), COPE (1).
Speaking exclusively to Courant’s Refilwe Gaeswe at the Free State Provincial Results Centre in Bloemfontein, the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) member, Naledi Pandor, said that it is now time for the ruling party to roll up their sleeves and make sure that they change communities.
“I think we (ANC) campaigned very well. We campaigned hard. I think there’s a lot of work we should do to deliver more services to the people. I went to many areas where there’s a huge need for improved service delivery,” Pandor said.
Compared to 2011, the ANC lost 10 percent of its votes in Mangaung.
The DA Chairperson in the province, Annelie Lotriet, said that the party was satisfied with the outcome of the elections and with the two wards (one in Ladybrand, one in Mangaung Metro) they took from the ANC, although they did expect to do slightly better.
“Given the new fluidity within politics, we are satisfied with what we have. Looking ahead and taking into consideration the national context, the party is very optimistic. We are moving into a new political dispensation. Parties will be competing more and you do not have only one major party. We are looking ahead to 2019 with great expectation,” she added.
The EFF Provincial Chairperson of the Free State, Kgotso Morapela, was happy with the outcome, specifically with the results of the party contesting its first local government election. He, however, mentioned that to ensure free and fair elections, the IEC proceedings should be evaluated.
Morapela said the EFF had lodged complaints with the IEC with regard to irregularities they had witnessed in various local municipalities in the province. “We are worried about the fairness of the IEC and we are waiting for the IEC to give us feedback on the issues of transparency that we have raised. We are happy that these municipal elections were peaceful and there were no incitement of violence,” he explained.
Speaking about the 2016 Municipal Elections’ preliminary results, Morapela said the EFF performed fairly well in the province.
The VF Plus leader in the province, Wouter Wessels, told Courant that he was happy with the party’s increase of votes and also praised the electoral system. “You never get what you hoped for. We did improve. We have also increased our number of seats. The system is getting more mature. It is baby steps, though.”
A lot of people don’t understand the municipal electorate system. Some people split their votes and they did not understand what they were voting for – especially at district level.
“If you go on and compare us to other smaller parties, we are the only party that survived and increased our votes. We will continue what we do, we have a very good track record. We have a lot of hope for 2019 and beyond that,” said Wessels
The IEC in the Free State also thanked the 27 political parties and 83 independent candidates in the province for playing a major and peaceful role in the elections. – Mark Steenbok & Cathy Dlodlo