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Week of 4 June 1999

The dawn of a new New South Africa is upon us. The election results are still coming in, with around 10 million votes (out of around 18 million) votes counted. Already the trends are clear:

1."Mathole, where did you get that we want a two-thirds majority, because, myself, I want a three-thirds majority," said ANC president Thabo Mbeki last Sunday during a campaign rally after outgoing Gauteng premier Mathole Motshekga shouted "Forward to a two-thirds majority." At the time of writing the ANC had 65% of the votes counted in the national election. The ANC has an outright majority of votes counted in 7 of the 9 provincial legislatures.

2."They [the DP] are clobbering us where the Conservative Party used to clobber us," said Johan Killian, the New NP's leader in Gauteng yesterday. The DP has just over 10% of the votes counted and is expected to be the new official opposition.

3."Zulus know nothing about democracy. They hated the ANC whose leaders are mostly Xhosas... However, democracy has enlightened them and proved them wrong," voter Thami Mathango, in Soweto. The IFP has around 8% of the votes counted for the National Assembly. It and the ANC both have around 40% each of the votes counted for the KwaZulu-Natal legislature. It is reported that the IFP and ANC will form a coalition government in the province.

4."After today's election results, we don't call Marthinus 'kortbroek' anymore. We call him Kaalgat van Schalwyk," said an ANC member of the Western Cape legislature of New NP leader Marthinus van Schalkwyk.

The New NP's support has dropped to around 7% of the votes counted. The New NP and the ANC are running neck-and-neck in the Western Cape at around 40% each. It is reported that the New NP, the DP (at 12%) and African Christian Democratic Party (at 3%) will form a coalition government in the province.

The election went smoothly, without violence, without computer failure, without hordes of unregistered voters arriving to vote, and was, according to EU observers, free and fair. As cartoonist Zapiro said in a drawing reflecting the lack of disaster news on the election: "I miss the mayhem..."

More next week with another round-up of the news from SA's newspapers, keeping you abreast of political news and humour in the second SA Republic.

All direct quotes from this week's edition taken from the Mail & Guardian newspaper. Election results taken direct from the IEC.

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©Jean Redpath 1999