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Elections: Focus on Western Cape

Elections: Focus on Western Cape

The outcome of the hotly contested polls in Western Cape is a confusing agglomeration of individuals, almost unknown parties and the big dogs in the province. There’s a lot of history and a lot of what-to-do-with-Cope. WAYNE SUSSMAN has analysed key target municipalities in an effort to shed some much-needed light on this province.

Local government elections in Western Cape have become the most closely contested in South Africa. With the City of Cape Town where Helen Zille cobbled together a coalition of unlikely partners to take control from the ANC in 2006.

Zille had to rely on parties like the Freedom Front Plus, African Muslim Party, African Christian Democratic Party and the very local Universal Party.  The parties had about as much in common as a die-hard Lions supporter and an Afrika Burns reveller.  Having said that, Cape Town lasted its five-year term under a DA led administration, but towns like Stellenbosch and Paarl, chopped and changed between the DA and the ANC. The ANC also knows that any hopes of a comeback to running this province start tomorrow when it has to win councils from the DA and show more examples of alternative models of governance. It also knows that not all of the former ID voters will follow party leader Patricia de Lille to the DA and it needs to convince a good proportion to vote ANC.

At present, excluding the district councils, the ANC has a mayor in nine municipalities, and the DA in eight. With the DA’s support, the ID has mayors in three municipalities, while the National People’s Party also has mayors in three municipalities, with the ANC’s support, and the Independent Civics Organization of South Africa runs one municipality with loose support from other parties. The municipality of Prins Albert is governed by the DA and the ANC on a rotational basis.

The current council map also largely excludes Cope. It came third in the provincial elections, but has suffered in Western Cape since the general elections in 2009.

Targets for both the ANC and the DA include:



Caledon is the biggest town in this area. The DA amassed the most votes here in 2009, but the ANC was breathing down its neck. The DA has a comfortable majority in the legislature with 13 of the 23 seats. The ANC has six, the ID two and the ACDP and UDM one each.

However, the DA just got over 38% of the vote here in 2009 and the ID got under 9%. That does not take them above 50%. The challenge for the ANC is, although it got over 37% , Cope gained less than 9% of the vote. So even if all Cope voters returned to the ANC, they would still fall behind the DA.

There are numerous smaller parties running in this municipality. The former ANC mayor of Theewaterskloof, Dawie Abrahams is the NPP mayoral candidate. Cope also has a former mayor as its candidate in Glen Carelse.

Even though the ANC ran neck and neck here in 2009, one has to favour the DA to win this municipality.


Vredendal is where the ID fared best in the 2009 elections. The council here has an ID mayor, as the ID with five seats governs with the DA (two), and the South African Political Alliance (one). The ANC has five seats.

In 2009, the DA only made 31.92% here, but the ID received 28.29%. The ANC received 28.94%, and Cope got 7%. While there are local parties and independent candidates, this should be a straight contest between the ANC and the DA. However, there is a R64,000 question in Matzikama, was the ID’s strong showing here because of Patricia de Lille or because of the Jenner brothers. The DA’s mayoral candidate is former ID councillor Delina Goedeman.


There is never a dull moment in George politics. Recently, the ID mayor defected to the ANC. This municipality will even have a former Springbok fullback contesting a ward. The ID with three seats has the mayoral chain, while the senior coalition partner is the DA with 16 seats. They also govern with an independent candidate and the FF+ with one. The ANC has 18 seats and is in opposition with the ACDP which has one seat.

The DA won 44.51% of the vote here in 2009 and the ID 8.52%. This takes them past 50%. The ANC polled 36.81% and Cope a little more than 5%. While these figures put the DA in pole position to retain this ward, there are many smaller parties contesting in George.

There is the George Independent Ratepayers Forum,  Icosa, whose leader and Eden district council mayor Faried Stemmet defected to the ANC. The NPP will be led by a former Icosa councillor Frans Joseph. Rugby administrator Jolyon Stoffels will lead Ou Pacaltsdorp Inwoners Vereniging. Another ratepayers group from Pacaltsdorp is Plaaslike Besorgde Inwoners, led by Virgill Gericke. There are a few other local parties also contesting. Most of these parties will take votes from the DA. The question is will they have any significant impact on the outcome, or will one emerge as a potential kingmaker?

We project the DA will win, but will need a coalition with smaller parties. This will go down to the wire.


This is an ID-led council. The ID and DA have three seats each. In opposition are the ANC with three seats and the ACDP with one. The DA polled 38.2% in 2009, and,with the ID’s solid showing of 15%, they made more than 50%. However, the ANC ran the DA close with 34.36% of the vote and the ACDP won 5%.

Current mayor Jan Jansen, whose tenure has been clouded in controversy, where the DA/ID were criticised for not dealing with him, recently left the ID with two other ID councillors to run under the Civic Independent banner. Former ID provincial leader JJ Januarie heads up the National Independent Civic Organization. A former DA mayor Nathan Newman, is running as an independent in Ward 5.

The ANC will need a majority of the former ID voters to break for them or parties led by disgruntled ID candidates. You could also see the ACDP being a kingmaker in Swellendam. We believe they will choose to work with the DA and not the ANC.


The DA controls this municipality in Citrusdal with seven of the 12 seats, while the ID has three and the ANC two seats. However, in the 2009 election, the DA only got 36.2% of the votes and the ID 13.99%. The ANC received 33.22% of the vote while Cope got 13.42%.

Local parties and independent candidates do exist here, but do not seem to have the same effect as in other municipalities. The DA should win here, but if the ANC can get that Cope support back, they have a chance of running the DA close.


Velddrif on the West Coast is a tough ask for the ANC. The DA has six seats and rules with the ID (one). The ANC has five seats and Cope has one seat. The DA should retain here.


This is a municipality which has swung from the DA to the ANC and back to the DA. The DA has 14 seats, and rules with the ID (one), an independent candidate, the UDM and the Kayamandi Community Alliance with one seat each. They have a minority government, which relies on the loose support of the ACDP (three). The ANC has 17 seats.

However, in the 2009 elections, the DA got over 52% of the vote here. The ANC attracted just over 29%, and Cope got under 9% with the ID getting over 3% of the vote.

The ACDP’s campaign received a boost when sitting ANC councillor Gordon Pheffer defected. Students  are also chancing their arm by running under the Studentestem Party banner, while former DA and ANC councillor Gilbert Adonis will lead the Universal Civics of South Africa Party. Martha Linders, mayoral committee member and independent will again be running and will hope to retain her ward seat.

The DA should win this council outright.

Cape Town

This is the number one target for the ANC, but it is not the most winnable. The DA currently has 100 seats and governs with the ID which has 16 seats and the UDM which has one seat. In opposition are the ANC (72), the ACDP (seven) and the NPP (four). There are four independents linked to Cope and the African Muslim Party has two. Other parties with one seat are the Social Democratic Party, the FF+, the PAC and the Universal Party.

While the DA beat the ANC to form a coalition with smaller parties to win this city, the map at election time is more favourable for them. They won quite a few by-elections and also increased their numbers through defections from the ID. Their coalition with the ID also gave them a more solid majority.

The DA would like to win the city outright this time, and would fancy its chances after winning just over 50% of the vote in the 2009 elections and the ID won just under 3%. The ANC got 32.76% of the vote and Cope got 8.69% of the vote. This is an area where Cope are not expected to do well, which will be good for the ANC.

The ANC have put up a star candidate in Tony Ehrenreich. The head of Cosatu in Western Cape is an outstanding orator and has made Cape Town a contest. The challenge for the ANC is that besides bringing Ehrenreich in, it has not been able to attract other well-known candidates and some of their experienced councillors are not running again.

However, there are many aspirant politicians in Cape Town who want to remind voters that this election is not just about the ANC and the DA. Some wards will have as many 24 candidates running in them. Cape Town voters will have the longest ballot paper in this election. There are three Muslim parties running. There are ID spinoffs running and there is the Cape Party which is shouting for an independent “Cape Republic”, there is also a party which wants to abolish income tax, there are three pan-Africanist parties,  and there is a National Party running. The one party we should watch is the Community Coalition led by former NNP and ID councillor Charlotte Williams.

The DA brought in Patricia De Lille to be its mayoral candidate and must be favoured to win. It will be interesting to see who they choose to work with if they do not win outright. The ACDP’s Ferlon Christians has repeated his mantra that his party will hold the balance of power.

We believe the DA will win this municipality outright. However, it will be interesting to see if the DA can hold on to wards such as Heideveld/Gugulethu which it won in a by-election last year and whether Tony Ehrenreich or a local candidate could take wards away from the DA in Mitchells Plain.

Mossel Bay

Mossel Bay was in the news last week when the DA mayor Marie Ferreira accused minister of energy Dipuo Peters of abusing her position by campaigning for the ANC.

The DA rules here with 14 seats. It is followed by the ANC which has seven, the ID (one) and the ACDP (one). In the 2009 election, the DA got just under 52% of the vote, while the ANC got just under 31%.

The DA will win this council with a clear majority.


Hermanus is a strong DA area. It runs the council with 12 of the 19 seats, while the ANC has six and the ID one. The DA got over 54% of the vote here in 2009, and the  ANC got 33.46%. The DA will retain power.


Malmesbury is one of the DA’s model municipalities. It is also a stronghold. The DA has 11 seats, followed by the ANC with seven and the ID and ACDP one each.

The DA got over 58% of the vote here in 2009, while the ANC got under 23%.

The former DA regional chair Henry Mckrieling will lead the People’s Independent Civic Organisation, but the DA will hold here.



This municipality, which includes Paarl and Wellington, is the second largest in the province. It was ruled by the DA and the ID. The ANC took over the municipality with the NPP and a local party called the Western Cape Community (WCC), with a slender majority. The DA will need a swing of two seats to take control here. What remains to be seen is how the NPP will do and whether the WCC can retain its two seats. 

If the majority of ID supporters vote DA, it should be able to take this municipality without a coalition. The DA received more than 46% of the vote and the ID just under 10%.

It will also be interesting to watch Ward 5 where ANC councillor Nkosinathi Tyesi  is running as an independent. He was recommended by the community, but  overlooked for the position.  Although the ANC has not officially announced its mayoral candidate in Paarl, it is expected to be Abe Bekeer. Bekeer is deputy leader of the ANC in Western Cape, and he will want to establish himself in this region. The DA has put up Gesie van Deventer as its mayoral candidate. Van Deventer will have to ensure she can build on her party’s solid showing in 2009 and bring the ID voters across to the DA.


This is a prime example of where a coalition between the ID and the DA did not work.Two ID councillors defected to the NPP to give the ANC and NPP control of the council. The ANC has 10 seats and the NPP two.  The DA sits in opposition, has seven seats and the ID four.  There will need to be a shift of one, for this municipality to change hands. If one looks at the 2009 results, the DA got just over 40% here and the ID 15%. The ANC received 28.3%, and Cope got 12.5%.

There are local factors at play here with the current deputy mayor Benjamin Pannas leading the NPP ticket and Jeffrey Swartbooi, the former deputy mayor from the ID running on the South African Progressive Civic Organisation ticket. In a move to lure former ID voters to the DA, the DA put former ID councillor Wessie van der Westhuizen as its mayoral candidate. The ANC was boosted by former DA ward councillor Sonja Biljohn’s defection.  The DA is favoured to keep its nose ahead and win here.

West Coast Peninsula

The principal town in this municipality is Saldanha Bay. The ANC currently has 10 seats and runs the municipality with the NPP which has one seat and an Independent also with one seat. In opposition are the DA with six seats, the ID with three, the ACDP with one and a local party, the SA Political Alliance with one seat.

The independent candidate is not contesting her ward again. It must also be noted that there are 13 parties on the proportional representation (PR) ballot and only 11 PR seats available. The opposition would need a shift of one to win Saldanha Bay. It will be the DA’s desire to rule in Saldanha Bay without the ACDP or SAFPA. Former ANC mayor Ebrahim Nackerdien is running as the head of the Local Government Party ticket. Jannie de Wee, a former deputy mayor and ID councillor is running as head of the Service to our People’s Party. Jakes Botha, former mayor of the West Coast District Municipality, leads the People’s Independent Civic Organisation.

In 2009 the DA won just over 46% of the vote and the ID 8%. Cope received more than 9% of the vote. The ANC received 31.47%. If the DA is able to get its supporters to vote, it can win outright, but it might have to rely on Cope or small parties to govern here. It will be very hard for the ANC to keep this municipality.


The biggest town in this municipality is Robertson. The opposition would need a shift of one seat for this council to fall. At present, the ANC has eight seats, the WCC one and a small local party, the People’s Democratic Movement one seat. The DA currently has six seats and the ID three.  There are more parties running here than seats available on the PR allocation.

One of the parties running here is the Dagga Party led by Jeremy Acton. They might be a one-issue party. In the 2009 elections, the DA came first, but with less than 40% of the vote. It was followed by the ANC with 29.54%. The ID had a solid showing of 15.4% and Cope received just more than 11% of the vote. The ANC will have to rely on a mass return of Cope voters to the ANC to stand a chance here. However, the DA should win this municipality. If it does not win outright, we see it governing with Cope.


The NPP currently rules here with the ANC. After the 2006 election, the Laingsburg Gemeenskap Party won the same amount of seats as the DA and the ANC – two. The LGP merged with the NPP. The current ruling coalition has a majority of two. The NPP currently wears the mayoral chain, as the former ANC mayor joined the DA in April.

The DA was the biggest party here after the 2009 elections with a scant 31.92% of the vote, closely followed by the ANC with 29.52% of the vote. Cope had its best showing in the province here with 19.51% of the vote followed by the ID with 15.43%. The big variable in Laingsburg is whether the voters who supported the LGP, will stay loyal to the NPP here. The NPP is led by the controversial Benjamin Kleinbooi. Barend Skermand, a community lawyer is leading SAPCO.

The ANC would need to rely on an implosion of support for Cope to win a higher percentage than the DA. We project neither the DA nor the ANC will win more than 50% here and the DA will need to turn to Cope and the ANC will need support from the NPP. At this stage, it seems the DA is in a stronger position.


This was the ANC’s big victory in the 2006 local government elections. It was from this very municipality, that the platteland rebellion was led against Marthinus van Schalkwyk and the New National Party, when they left the DA and formed an alliance with the ANC. This is the home municipality of the current leader of the DA in Western Cape, Theuns Botha. The DA ruled here from 2000-2004, but the ANC won a comfortable majority in 2006. The ANC currently has 10 seats, the DA four and an independent has one seat.

In 2009 the DA received 44.87% of the vote here, with the ANC receiving 31.64%, Cope got 13.56% and the ID 4.33%. It seems that if the DA want to rule here, it will need to form a coalition after the elections as it should fall short of the 50.1% needed to govern alone. An interesting local party here is the Civic Independent led by an ex-NNP and ANC councillor Fred Carelse who had links to the ID as well.

Cape Agulhas

Bredasdorp is the biggest town in this municipality. The ANC retained Ward 3 here in a key by-election in August last year where they narrowly beat the DA by 75 votes. The ANC currently has a comfortable majority with six seats compared to the three of the DA and one for the ACDP.

However, in the 2009 elections, the DA fared well by getting 47.42% of the vote and the ID 6.1%. The ANC received 37.45% and Cope just over 4%. However, there are distinct local factors at play here as well. The controversial former NPP councillor, Percival Jones will be leading the Cape Agulhas Ratepayers Association and the NPP will also be contesting. Both these parties could eat into the former ID support base. We expect the DA will be in a far better position to take over the council, however, it would want to rather rely on a lone Cope councillor than CARA or the NPP. It will also be interesting to see if the ACDP retains its seat.

Breede Valley

The main town here is Worcester. This is a very tough contest to project because of the number of small local parties and independents. The ANC currently rules the municipality with 14 seats, and the firm support of two independent councillors. It has the occasional support of an independent councillor linked to Cope and the  Breedevallei Onafhanklike-party which has one seat. In opposition are the DA with 14 seats, the ID with one and the FF+ with one.

There are a range on independent candidates running in this ward. These include the former ANC speaker of the council. Another former speaker and current independent councillor is the mayoral candidate for Civic Independent. The NPP has had its share of problems with one of its former councillors Glenda Daames leading the Democratic Christian Party, and Audrey Titus, also ex-NPP leading the South African Progressive Civic Organisation. The DA has put up Basil Kivedo, a former MK cadre, activist and academic. The ANC’s probable candidate is Patrick Marran, current member of the mayoral committee. The BO party is also running.

The DA received just over 43% here in 2009 and the ANC 33%.  Cope had a strong showing with more than 13% of the vote.

We believe the DA will be better positioned to lead this council, but it will not get a majority, and might even lack a majority with Cope, which means it will need to turn to smaller parties or independent candidates. This makes for a post-election silly season where a small party can hold the DA or the ANC to ransom.


Ladismith is the main town in this municipality, the home turf of controversial former mayor Jeffrey Donson and his Independent Civics Organisation of South Africa party. This municipality is run by the NPP with three seats and the ANC with its two seats. In opposition are the DA with two seats and the ID and Icosa with one each. The NPP became the majority party through defections.

For this election, the current NPP mayor and the NPP in Kannaland have thrown their lot in with the ANC and won’t contest the election. Jeffrey Donson, with his son in tow, are back again to contest under the Icosa banner. He also joined the NPP, but left under a cloud of controversy. The elder Donson will be fighting Ward 2 against his former NPP colleague and ANC candidate Anthony Ewerts. Donson’s former colleague in Icosa, Ricardo Willemse, who broke away to form Acosa will now lead the South Africa Progressive Civic Organisation in this election, while a former DA councillor Nicolaas Adams will lead the Universal Civics of South Africa.

The DA received 34.51% of the vote here in 2009, a fraction more than the 34.06% of the ANC. The ID received 11.16% of the vote and Cope received a credible 17.1% of the vote. Icosa should take votes from the ANC, while Ucosa should take votes from the DA, and Sapco should take some votes from both. We really don’t know what will happen with Cope here, but it could provide the DA with that seat which would enable them to have the upper hand. However, we believe parties like Icosa will be more likely to work with the ANC leading to an ANC coalition.


The main towns here are Ceres and Tulbagh. It is a marginal ANC area. However, the ANC does not wear the mayoral chain here. The NPP with one seat occupies the mayoral chair, and the deputy mayor is from the United Independent Front. They wear those chains because of the ANC’s nine seats.

This election also has local factors. The Voice of Independents Party was formed by a DA councillor Sylvia Minnaar, an  ex-ID councillor will lead Sapco and Jacques Klazen, another former ID councillor will lead the Democratic Christian Party. There is another local party running. We will also see whether the UIF will be able to retain a seat in the council.  The ANC received 41.73% of the vote here and the DA 37.15% and the ID just over 9%, and Cope received 7%. All the local parties will take votes away from the DA. However, the ANC will not be able to govern alone here, and will need to look for alliance partners, as it is not clear whether the UIF or the NPP will return to council. Voter turnout will be a vital factor in this municipality. The ANC will also look to attract Cope voters back. Expect the smaller parties to make big demands for support and the ANC to continue governing here.


The ANC has a comfortable majority on the council, controlling nine of the 16 seats. The DA has five seats, the ID one and Icosa one. The most interesting contest in the Knysna election will be in Ward 8 where Ntombizanele Sopeki will be running as an independent candidate. This 33-year-old activist was devastated when her community’s preferred candidate was overlooked for another. A passionate ANC member, she succumbed to community pressure and has entered into the race. There seems to be infighting between the various factions of the ANC in Knysna and this could affect the outcome.

The ANC received 41.38% of the vote here in 2009 and the DA got 39.26%, with the ID getting just over 4% and Cope over 11% of the vote. If the ANC could get the Cope voters to switch, it could win this municipality outright. But if Sopeki were to win her ward, she could also hold the balance of power. The ANC has to be favoured to hold Knysna, but it might need to get Sopeki to join the governing coalition.

Beaufort West

Ask any South African to name two people from Beaufort West, they answer Chris Barnard and then tell you about Truman Prince. Aloma Daniels of Icosa currently wears the mayoral chain and runs in essence what seems to be a minority government. It has been very hard for me to understand how this works, but it seems Icosa chops and changes and works on occasion with all of the other parties in the municipality. Currently it has three seats, the ANC four, the DA four, the NPP one and the Social Democratic Party one. The DA narrowly beat the ANC here in the 2009 election, getting 42.83% of the vote against the ANC’s 41.96%. Cope got over 11% and the ID hardly featured.

However, in the general election, local factors were not at play as Icosa and NPP did not contest. The big story here is that the popular Truman Prince has returned to the ANC and heads the list. This will be a great boost for the ANC in trying to win this municipality outright. It also remains to be seen how former deputy mayor and right-hand man of Prince, Andrew Lyon does as the head of the NPP list. Icosa’s campaign is led by Jacobus van Wyk, another former mayor. The DA’s best hope is for some of that Cope support to hold and ensure it is able to get its supporters out to vote, but Prince would love nothing more than to return to the mayoral chair and ensure the ANC gets a majority.

There are other smaller parties contesting here, but we think parties like Icosa or the NPP will hold the balance of power and will be more willing to work with the ANC than the DA.


Plettenberg Bay is the stronghold of the ANC in Western Cape. It currently runs this municipality with six out of the 11 council positions. The DA has three seats, an independent councillor has one and the ID has one. The independent councillor is Memory Booysen who is now running as the DA mayoral candidate.

While Cope got over 15% in the 2009 elections, it has battled since then. The ANC is being challenged in two wards by two former members standing as independents. The one is a former branch leader of the ANC. Qina Mhlali Qina, a grassroots community movement in KwaNokhutula, is also fielding candidates. It will go into coalition with the DA if it wins any wards.

Despite these challenges, the ANC is still expected to win here.

Prins Albert

This municipality works on a rotational basis as both the ANC and the DA have the same number of seats. The DA received more votes in the general election than the ANC, but the big unknown factor is what will happen to the Cope support. It got over 16% of the vote here, but isn’t running this time. The Karoo Gemeenskap Party is running and its leader has a strong support base in the municipality. The key thing in Prins Albert is that there will be seven and not six seats available now. We think the KGP will be kingmakers and demand the mayoral chain.

We do not think the sleepy town of Prins Albert has ever felt so much tension. 



The ANC will desperately want to win George to entrench the southern Cape as a base for it to plot its provincial comeback. It will also hope to get a majority of former ID voters to reject Patricia de Lille’s alliance with the DA and support the ANC or smaller parties more willing to work with the ANC.  It will be a bad night for the ANC if it is just left with Bitou, Knysna, Beaufort West and Witzenberg. Marius Fransman will want to emerge with a more solid footing in Western Cape and show the electorate the ANC in Western Cape has closed the chapter on its factional rivalry and that the party is ready to govern here again in 2014.


The DA will want to shake off its various alliances across the province and rule alone. It will also rather rule in a coalition with a party like Cope then a smaller local party or the ACDP and FF+. If the DA takes over municipalities like Oudtshoorn, Paarl, Saldanha Bay, Robertson and Worcester it will be a major dent in the hopes of the ANC taking back Western Cape. It will also hope it can deliver a bigger majority in Cape Town compared to what it received there in 2009 as this will raise questions about Tony Ehrenreich’s ability to bring working-class coloured voters back to the ANC in Cape Town.

The Small Is Big Factor

We suspect that places like Ladismith, Beaufort West, Prins Albert and Worcester will have small parties emerging as kingmakers.  This will be bad for governance as these parties and the characters in them have a history of putting personal interests above those of taking these municipalities forward.

Photo: Cityscape of Cape Town. CITYSCAPE REUTERS


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