ANC set to claim a strong majority in KZN

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pretoria - An interesting political scenario is playing itself out in KwaZulu-Natal as the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) fights for its survival in the province perceived to be its strong-hold.

The latest results at the Independent Electoral Commission's (IEC) Results Operation Centre show that Mangosuthu Buthelezi, leader of the IFP, will need more than a miracle to retain his support in the province.

The ANC is currently standing at just more than 63 percent of the vote in the province with IFP trailing behind with 21 percent.

Results have been steadily streaming in since the early hours of the morning, following yesterday's fourth democractic elections, with about 5.5 million of the votes already been counted.

University of Johannesburg's political analyst Professor Adam Habib told BuaNews on Thursday that the KwaZulu-Natal scenario is not surprising at all. "What we are seeing here is part of the changes that are taking place in many parts of the country," Professor Habib said.

He said it was always expected that the ANC under Jacob Zuma would have a strong following in KwaZulu-Natal.

"Zuma was the first ANC leader to penetrate the so-called no-go areas in KwaZulu-Natal," Mr Habib said.

He said under former ANC president Thabo Mbeki, the ANC had failed to make inroads in KwaZulu-Natal, leading to the IFP eating into some of the ruling party's support.

Wits University Professor Susan Booysen told BuaNews that there were also cultural dimensions that were beginning to emerge in the province.

"The 'Zulu - Zuma issue' is really one of the factors here," Ms Booysen said, adding that among many Zulu-speaking people, Mr Buthelezi was "yesterday's leader" while Mr Zuma is seen as "tomorrows leader".