So THE DIE IS CAST
Save for those outsiders who were bussed in, the ruling ANC and their new adversaries Cope were still in Bloemfontein yesterday fighting over those scraps of the Siwelele - Bloemfontein Celtic supporters - who give a hoot about politics.
Since the advent of Cope, from the very day former defence minister Mosiuoa Lekota "served divorce papers" on his former comrades, whole communities have been torn apart in the biblical "brother against brother, son against father and daughter against mother" sense.
But while Cope, in the words of political analyst Susan Booysen, a professor at Wits University, stand a much bigger chance and have more credibility than the DA, their good showing is enough to allow them only a slot as the official opposition after next year's elections.
"They only pose a serious challenge as an opposition party," Booysen says, explaining why she doesn't think they can unseat the party in government.
So, the die is cast.
Given the Cope brouhaha, if (when?) the ANC wins next year, maybe its president should be allowed to repeat his near-blasphemous line that "the ANC will rule until Jesus comes (back)".
As the ANC mops up after the 47th anniversary celebration of the formation of Umkhonto we Sizwe and Cope does the same after the historic launch of the breakway party, loyalties in the City of Roses, where the ANC was founded in 1912, will be torn. Common ground among the people will be their love for the green and white of Celtic. No more and no farther.
"Yes, the ANC will win the coming elections," says ID leader Patricia de Lille, before adding, "but I think with a reduced majority."
That they will win is perhaps an indictment on her party and other opposition parties that are not able to significantly corrode the ANC majority.
The Independent Electoral Commission's chief electoral officer Pansy Tlakula says, at the last count, there were 144 parties registered to contest the 2009 elections.
The IEC website shows 149 with formations such as Sasa, the Strategic Alliance of South Africa, having allowed their chances to expire, thereby putting them out of action for next year's show.
The list of registered parties makes for fascinating reading.
There's a party run out of No. 4 Barclay Road, Dunnotar in Nigel. It is called, wait for it, The Real Congress!
This really puts a damper on ANC claims that Cope's insistence on the use of the word "congress" is only meant to confuse voters.
The Congress of the People, says the ANC, is an intrinsic part of its history because it was the name given to the 1955 Kliptown gathering that culminated in the adoption of the Freedom Charter.
The Real Congress is ready for 2009 and it is not led by the two natives affectionately known by the acronym Shikota.
In addition to the ANC, there are 11 other parties with African attached to their names. There's also the African National Freedom Party operating from the once-volatile Richmond in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.
While the PAC has been forced through time to dilute their Africanist stance to include people of colour, from Port Elizabeth comes a modern-day separatist dinosaur called the Congress Movement of the Coloured People of South Africa.
My ma hoor my!
This when Cope has just unveiled firebrand Alan Boesak, a magnet of the coloured vote, as one of their own.
God's specially anointed few have formed themselves into something called GPP - God's People's Party. They are from Bethal in Mpumalanga.
If "until Jesus comes back" is so offensive, is there no sacrilege there, Reverend Kenneth Meshoe?
After some divine intervention, Divine Kingdom, with a Germiston postal address, cancelled.
God is great!
Like fools who rush in where angels fear to tread, the Eden Forum is registered. No prizes for guessing how many people it will entice into its garden.
Keep It Straight and Simple - KISS - are still registered. Their logo is a red pout!
One Mrs Denise Catherine du Plooy speaks for a party whose youth are unlikely to undress at congresses and their adults stab one another in the neck - the Christian Front.
The Barkly West Task Team is not a security firm, it is a political party.
Out of Giyani comes Ximoko Party, whose chant is "We serve and lead". Lead who?
De Lille, one of the first voices to out the multimillion-dollar arms deal, says the ANC might also "lose control of certain provinces".
But whoever sees Ximoko running the show in Limpopo, let alone their backyard, is an inveterate optimist.
Political lines were drawn in Bloemfontein between the two camps sporting T-shirts in the same shade of yellow.
Two-thirds majority or not, whoever else wasn't there, plays in the junior leagues. Period.