As of right now (this was 12.40 on May 20 2011) the ANC is sitting at 63.63 percent of the vote (66.35 in 2006), the DA at 22.1 (14.77), the IFP with 3.94 (8.05) – and newcomers to municipal elections COPE with 2.31 and the National Freedom Party with 2.54. The other important factor to consider is the ID got 2.02 percent in 2006 – which we must assume has mostly gone to the DA in this election.

The trends are important but are likely to be overlooked by the degree in which they were exaggerated before they appeared.

If anything the ANC is likely to continue to drift upwards and the DA downwards – because the constituencies in which the ANC is stronger are bigger and messier and therefore results take longer to come in.

The leader article in this morning’s Business Day points out that only 9.2 percent of South African’s are ‘white’ and with the Democratic Alliance running at about 22 percent of the vote the official opposition has already broken out of it’s racial ghetto.

I think this is the correct way to spin it.

Some DA supporters might be feeling disappointed – it looks like they have only one metro (Cape Town); but my feeling is anything more than this was hopeless optimism.

The DA talking up its game was always going to end in tears.

The fact is the party has done extraordinarily well – particularly in the metropolitan areas.

The ANC has won with reduced majorities almost everywhere and the DA is up an astonishing 8 percent on its performance in 2006.

These are the significant trends in the election and the statisticians will be furiously projecting forward to 2014 – although you should note that the ruling party tends to do worse in the municipal vote (a global trend).

The ANC is giving hints that it takes the criticism and promises to fix the three areas that have contributed to the reduction of its margins: candidate selection, poor service delivery and widespread corruption in local councils.

Were this to happen the results, as they are running, are the best they could be.