African National Congress secretary general Gwede Mantashe reacted furiously to the Democratic Alliance’s announcement on Thursday that it would win the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality.
Mantashe said the ANC was in the process of lodging a complaint about the 500 dumped ballot papers found in Nelson Mandela Bay metro with votes in favour of the party and it was too early for DA leader Mmusi Maimane to call a victory.
Maimane said his party projected that it would win 47% of the votes in the metro, with 90% of the votes there counted already.
Immediately after Maimane made the announcement to journalists on the floor of the election results centre – amid applause by DA agents in the vicinity – that the DA was expecting the ANC to get 42% of the vote, Mantashe was seen conferring with IEC chairperson Terry Tselane.
“I was talking to the chairperson of the IEC saying to him why are you leaking the results to the DA before,” Mantashe told journalists.
He said Tselane told him the IEC “will discuss that because they have not announced the results”.
Mantashe said he suspected that people were accessing IEC results “informally”.
‘Something wrong with the numbers’
DA party officials have, however, claimed that Maimane’s announcement was based on a projection, although party agents usually have access to pre-audited results as part of their elections monitoring effort.
An angry Mantashe told journalists: “There are still many things around Nelson Mandela [Bay]. There are two batches of ballot papers that have been found dumped there and that complaint is coming to the IEC. It is coming.”
Asked whether the number of ballot papers found would be enough to sway the result, Mantashe said: “There are enough. On the results [if] you have the majority of wards but you run short, it means there is something wrong with the numbers.”
Maimane told journalists during an impromptu press conference on the floor: “If you ask people in Nelson Mandela Bay what they voted for, they’ll say we voted for change. That to me says our message got through… and South Africans still believe in a non-racial South Africa. I want to thank South Africans who have come out in Nelson Mandela Bay to vote for us.”
Maimane confirmed that the DA would look at a coalition in the metro, but he did not mention any party names.
“It’s the future of South Africa, it’s an important thing. We want to be at the forefront of championing that.”
He said the party governed the City of Cape Town in a similar manner in the beginning. “I think the future of South Africa may very well be how coalitions work; how we find each other and how we make sure we deliver for the people.”