Drop in support worries S.Africa's ruling party: official

24th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

South Africa's ruling African National Congress on Tuesday said it was worried about a drop in its support in last week's local elections, which resulted in declines in all but one province.

"We noted and we are worried about the downward trend in all the provinces except in KwaZulu-Natal," ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe told journalists.

Mantashe said some voters may have been put off by some comments by party leaders which "appeared racist", but adding that South Africans are "too over-sensitive to each other."

Ahead of the polls, ANC leaders threatened ancestral wrath, warned that an opposition vote was one for the devil, and described opposition Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille as a "madam".

But he said the party was proud of its overall performance.

"These results must be celebrated because they constitute a massive victory for our movement," Mantashe said.

Despite the slip in support, the ANC retained control of seven major cities but failed to snatch Cape Town from the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), which has run the tourist hotspot since 2006.

The ANC garnered 62 percent of the votes, down from 66 percent in 2006, while the DA recorded gains at nearly 24 percent of the ballots, buoyed by voters who are disgruntled with the ruling party.

In KwaZulu-Natal, the home province of President Jacob Zuma, the ANC scored 55 percent, up eight points from 2006.

The increase was due largely to the divisions within Inkatha Freedom Party, a mainly Zulu party that splintered ahead of the polls.

© 2011 AFP

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