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By The Skanner News
Published: 08 March 2006

Thabo Mbeki

CAPE TOWN, South Africa—The ruling African National Congress won two-thirds of council seats in local elections, according to final results released Saturday.

The ANC's victory in the Wednesday balloting was better than expected given recent protests over corrupt local government officials and slow progress in improving housing, sanitation and other basic services.

The ANC won 223 councils with 66.3 percent of the vote, compared with 59 percent at the last elections in 2000, the final tally showed. The White-led Democratic Alliance won 10 councils with 14.7 percent of the vote.

The ANC suffered its only real setback in Cape Town, where it lost control of the City Council and came in second to the Democratic Alliance.

"Our movement has emerged from the elections stronger than ever before, having increased its support within our system of local government," South African President Thabo Mbeki said in a statement.

Mbeki promised on Saturday to speedthe delivery of services to millions of poor Blacks. The ANC has governed since the start of multiparty democracy in 1994.

South Africa has made huge economic strides in the 12 years since the end of apartheid. The governmenthas built nearly 2 million new homes for impoverished Black South Africans,

But there has been mounting anger at the slow rate of progress. Some 16 million people out of 45 million remain without adequate sanitation, 3.7 million have no access to clean water and there are still shack settlements in most towns and villages.

"The task ahead of us is to do everything in our power to honor the commitment we made to the people to implement our plan to make local government work better for all our people," Mbeki said.

— The Associated Press

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