The Karoo Democratic Force (KDF) hoped to be able to announce later on Wednesday whether it would crown the Democratic Alliance or the African National Congress as the kings of the Karoo after last week’s elections resulted in a hung council.
The DA initially thought the Beaufort West Municipality was in the bag when the results of the 2016 local government elections came through on Thursday.
Western Cape Premier Helen Zille was overjoyed that the DA had taken the municipality from the ANC and controversial Mayor Truman Prince for the first time.
But in a surprise twist, once the complicate formulas were completed, it emerged that the two parties’ race ended in a tie, leaving the ANC and DA with six council seats each.
One seat went to the KDF, popularly known in the area as the “Kadoef” party, initially started as a breakaway from the ANC in the region.
Will they choose the DA, or the ANC, was the question on everybody’s lips.
“Yesterday [Tuesday] we met with the DA, and the ANC,” said Noel Constable, interim leader of the KDF.
“We want to finalise it by today, or tomorrow morning at the latest,” he said.
“We are still looking for the best settlement for the community of Beaufort West and the Central Karoo. They must be served, that must be the first thing on our mind,” he said.
Before the election, some in the town said the Kadoef party was going to make a “kadoef” in the election, but they could not have predicted exactly how much of an impact the newcomers would have.
Constable said: “We were surprised, but we had worked very hard in Beaufort West, and we knew people wanted change.”
There was a bit of anxiety around town with people constantly asking whether there has been a decision or not, he said.
Talks at advanced stage
In last week’s results, the DA came in with 48.99% of the vote and 15 370 votes. The party leads, but it does not have a clear majority. To be in charge, it has to strike a deal with another party.
The ANC got 42.21% (13 243 votes) followed by KDF at 5.18% (1 624 votes).
After that came the Economic Freedom Fighters at 1.37%, Freedom Front Plus at 0.72%, Cope at 0.54% PAC at 0.35%, Icosa at 0.32%, Sarco at 0.25% and independent candidates 0.08%.
The ANC’s performance in three out of four voting districts was relatively low, but it was the voters of Nelspoort that pulled its average up.
DA mayoral candidate Koos Maloy confirmed that there had been coalition talks with the KDF, while people in the town anxiously waited for the outcome.
“It is at an advanced stage at this moment,” he said.
Comment from the ANC office in Beaufort West was not immediately available, but current Mayor Truman Prince said it was “50/50” at the moment, with talks still continuing.