South Africa

Analysis: Tlokwe aside, no drama in September by-elections

By Paul Berkowitz 19 September 2013

Aside from the three much-publicised contests in Tlokwe, there were eight wards up for by-elections on Wednesday. All the wards were successfully defended by the incumbent parties. While there were fireworks aplenty in Tlokwe, these took place with little fuss. By PAUL BERKOWITZ.

In the Eastern Cape, in ward 22 of Mbhashe (Idutywa), the ANC successfully defended its ward. The party had won the ward with 81% in 2011 (COPE 14%, PAC and UDM 2% each). The party retained the ward with 83% on Wednesday (IFP 7%, independent 6%, PAC 5%) while voter turnout fell from 65% to 53%.

In Gauteng, the DA retained ward 9 in Lesedi (Heidelberg). The party won the ward with 86% in 2011 (FF+ 8%, ANC 5%) and its candidate ran unopposed in the by-elections. In ward 4 of Merafong City (Carletonville) the ANC successfully defended its ward. The party had won the ward with 84% in 2011 (DA 11%) and its support dropped a notch to 69% in the by-elections (DA 24%, independent 6%). Voter turnout was sharply down from 60% to 36%.

In ward 33 of Ethekwini (Durban metro) the DA successfully defended a ward it had won with 71% in 2011 (ANC 23%, IFP and NFP 2% each). The party’s share of the vote rose to 92%.

In Limpopo, in ward 8 of Greater Giyani, the ANC had won the ward in 2011 with 86% (COPE 9%, independent candidate 2%). The party retained the seat with 83% of the vote on Wednesday (COPE 11%, APC and Ximoko Party both 3%). Voter turnout fell from 60% to 41%.

In the North-West, in ward 2 of Ramotshere Moiloa (Zeerust), the ANC had won in 2011 with 57% of the vote (independent 29%, UCDP 11%). The ANC increased its share of the vote to 69% on Wednesday (AZAPO 20%, UCDP 11%). Voter turnout fell from 55% to 43%.

In the Western Cape, in ward 6 of Drakenstein (Paarl), the ANC successfully defended the seat it had won with 89% in 2011 (COPE 10%, DA 2%). Support for the ANC dropped to 72% (independent 20%, DA 8%) in a poll that saw voter turnout fall from 65% to 49%. While the ANC did lose a chunk of support in this ward, the DA’s share of the vote didn’t improve significantly. The ANC may use this as proof that the DA doesn’t enjoy traction in black communities in the province.

In ward 8 of Mossel Bay the DA defended the ward it had won with 79% in 2011 (ANC 13%, ACDP 5%). The party’s support dropped to 64% (independent 27%, ANC 8%) and voter turnout fell from 66% to 45%. The DA’s drop in support was probably thanks to competition from former DA member Nicky Lodewyks, an experienced who ran as an independent after his party membership was terminated.

The winning DA candidate, Dirk Kotze, is younger and has less experience, but did have the support of the municipality’s business community and his party’s campaign machinery – the DA sent a number of their provincial cabinet members to the ward to campaign.

There’s very little to point to in these elections. The ANC lost some support in the Drakenstein and Merafong wards but its strong showing in Ramotshere Moiloa compensated for this. The DA had a very good showing in the Ethekwini ward but suffered a bit of a scare in Mossel Bay.

The ANC will have reason to be happy with its successful defence of these wards in a month where it had to throw considerable resources at its Tlokwe campaign. AZAPO should also be happy with the 20% it garnered in Ramotshere Moiloa. DM

(Daily Maverick is grateful to Nickey Le Roux and the Mossel Bay Advertiser for contributions to this report.)

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