The EFF in the Western Cape has not yet won any wards in its first municipal election, but the party says it is not disappointed.
“We know we put up a very good fight,” said provincial secretary Melikhaya Xego, as the final results started coming through – with the City of Cape Town, George and Stellenbosch still outstanding.
“We went all out,” he said.
Party leader Julius Malema campaigned hard in parts of the province, highlighting issues like outside toilets and uncollected refuse.
Refusing to hand out free T-shirts, the EFF relied on its manifesto, which included keeping clinics open 24/7 and passing bylaws to enable municipalities to allocate land on a use-it-or-lose-it basis.
He went as far as telling people gathered for his Dunoon speech to find a piece of land and start building.
Dunoon, a few kilometres away from upmarket Blouberg on the West Coast, appeared to be the party’s strongest municipal election support base.
Shortly after 14:00 on Thursday, the ANC had an outright majority in Dunoon, with 10 554 (70.9%) votes, followed by the EFF with 2 154 (14.49%) and the DA with 1 503 (10.11%) according to provisional results.
In the last municipal election in 2011, the DA got 770 votes, so its support has increased. The ANC’s support has dipped from the 12 840 achieved in 2011.
At the time of writing, City of Cape Town votes were not yet finalised, but it seemed that voters had decided to back the ANC to improve the mostly shack suburb, originally meant as a holding place for people waiting for government housing.
Xego thanked the EFF voters of Dunoon for putting their faith in the party.
But failing to win wards did not spell the end for the EFF in the province, he said.
They would get a share of the proportional representation votes and, if the party’s performance in Parliament is anything to go by, they are bound to make their presence felt.
Xego said they had scooped 40 000 of the City of Cape Town votes already and that this would translate to some representation.
He said the party had lodged an official complaint with the IEC, alleging that voters in a ward had been allowed to vote at the incorrect voting station.
Provincial communications official Roscoe Palm said the party’s municipal performance followed a similar pattern to that of the national results in 2014, where they were also the second opposition.
“What we have done is consolidate the results of 2014 to show that we are here to stay,” he said.
Xego said the party could still be a kingmaker if it received seats in some of the outstanding wards.
But for now, the EFF would celebrate every vote.
“We went from zero to something. That is an achievement.”