The governing National Party and its far-right rivals claimed success today in white municipal elections, but Archbishop Desmond Tutu said a boycott of separate black voting succeeded.
Only a tiny fraction of the country’s 26 million blacks voted in Wednesday’s segregated elections, which the white government described as the most significant extension of democracy in South African history. An estimated one third of 1.5 million registered blacks came to the polls.
“Manipulate statistics whichever way you like,” said Tutu, who advocated an election boycott. “The reality remains that black South Africans reject apartheid and government attempts to give it a coat of new paint.”
The far-right Conservative Party, campaigning for stricter enforcement of apartheid laws, had predicted victory in Pretoria, the country’s administrative capital. It narrowly missed its goal, winning 19 council seats to 22 for the Nationalists.
It also fell short of its targets in the Orange Free State, the most rural of four provinces.
But the Conservatives swept to power in farming and industrial towns of Transvaal, the most populous province.
The Nationalists for the first time gained outright control in Johannesburg.