With almost 90% votes already counted, the Economic Freedom Fighters were set to topple the Democratic Alliance as Mpumalanga’s official opposition.
The EFF more than doubled its six percent votes that it achieved when it contested in 2014.
On Friday morning, the EFF had reached the 13% mark to the DA’s 9,88%. It seemed very unlikely that the DA would stage a comeback.
Mpumalanga EFF leader, Collen Sedibe, attributed his party’s success to the hard work of volunteers.
“Our ground forces and volunteers worked throughout the night to be victorious. We like to thank all the people who voted EFF in MP and all over the country.
“We are happy. We went to the elections with the mind of winning above 60 percent, but we appreciate what the people of Mpumalanga have given us. We are an official opposition, this gives us power to hold government accountable.
“We will now be able to participate in all the legislature committees. Our numbers will add value for the people of Mpumalanga,” said Sedibe.
Sedibe said that the EFF was the only party that has managed to win seats in the Mpumalanga legislature and increase their seats in the following elections.
“As EFF we are only party that went to legislature with two members only party to increase and double the number. Congress of the People COPE came and faded and are gone. Freedom Front Plus came and they are gone. United Democratic Movement came and they are gone,” said Sedibe.
EFF Spokesperson, Eric Masuku attributed his party’s success to the commitment to the cause of the poor people.
“Since its establishment, the EFF has been a mass based organisation. Every time we championed the cause of the people.
“Most families in Mpumalanga are not rich, so every time they are faced with problems the EFF is always there to advance their cause,” said of his organisation’s members.
Meanwhile, Mpumalanga leader of the Democratic Alliance, Jane Sithole conceded defeat but she downplayed the significance of the loss of her party’s status as the official opposition in Mpumalanga.
“Yes, that is exactly what it is, with over 90 percent. We can say it’s a definite yes,” she said.
Sithole, however, said that she was happy with the fact that the opposition parties were increasing instead of the governing party.
“I’m happy that the opposition is getting stronger and opposition benches are going to get stronger. I would have been very unhappy if it (were) the ANC that was growing,” said Sithole.
The DA declined from 10,40% to 9,88%.
The ANC, however, witnessed a significant drop from 78% in 2014 to just over 71%.
Mpumalanga becomes the third province where it is the official opposition.