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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 March 2006, 21:44 GMT
Decisive ANC win in S Africa poll
South Africa Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
The ANC leadership campaigned vigorously in the local polls
South Africa's governing African National Congress has won a comfortable victory in local government elections.

The ANC received 66% of the vote and controls five of the six major urban centres, according to final results.

The opposition Democratic Alliance secured almost 15% of the vote and the Inkatha Freedom Party 7%. Turnout in Wednesday's polls was 48%.

President Thabo Mbeki hailed an election which he said had been "free and fair and largely peaceful".

The BBC's Justin Pearce in Johannesburg says support for the ANC has not significantly fallen, despite charges of corruption and poor service delivery.

Campaign pledges

The ANC suffered its only setback in Cape Town, where it lost control of the council. However, no party achieved an outright victory.

RESULTS
ANC: 66.59%, 194 councils
DA: 14.9%, 10 councils
IFP: 7.59%, 18 councils
ID: 2.07%, 0 councils
Votes cast: 14m
Turnout: 46.72%
Source: IEC
The opposition Democratic Alliance gained 41% in Cape Town, the ANC 39% and the Independent Democrats 11%.

The national result achieved by the ANC is slightly down on the 70% it reached in the 2004 general election.

The ANC retained control of Johannesburg council, as well as Tshwane, which includes the capital Pretoria, and the Nelson Mandela Metro, which includes Port Elizabeth.

The Inkatha Freedom Party took control of 18 municipalities, all in its KwaZulu-Natal heartland.

The DA won 10 councils around the country, although it had a greater share of the vote than the IFP.

Although the ANC's overall victory was never in doubt, some analysts had predicted that many would desert the party to express dissatisfaction over local corruption, and backlogs in the provision of basic services.

However, our correspondent says the party's much-publicised efforts to improve its image in local government appear to have paid off.

President Mbeki said last year that the ANC would not re-nominate councillors known to be corrupt, and the party made all its candidates swear an oath to reject corruption.




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