By-elections were held on Wednesday in 20 wards across six provinces. The DA was the incumbent in most wards, defending all but one successfully. That ward was lost to the ANC, who also took a ward from COPE, winning two on the night. The DA in turn won two wards from the Minority Front (MF), so it also came out ahead overall. By PAUL BERKOWITZ and WAYNE SUSSMAN.
In the Eastern Cape one ward was contested: ward 16 in Ntabankulu. The ANC won 98% of the vote in 2011 but lost a big piece of the vote to an independent candidate, Lumkile Mndela, who took 40% on Wednesday. Turnout fell from 55% (in the 2011 elections) to 35%.
Eight wards were contested in Gauteng, seven were DA incumbencies and one was won by the ANC in 2011. The DA successfully defended six wards but lost one to the ANC.
Ward 20 in Ekurhuleni (Bedfordview) was won by the DA with 85% of the vote in 2011 (ANC 14%). Michelle Clarke, the incumbent, went to the provincial legislature. The DA retained the seat on Wednesday with 97% of the vote (ANC 3%). Turnout fell from 64% to 27%.
In ward 24 of Ekurhuleni (Benoni / Rynfield / Cloverdale), the DA just pipped the ANC in the 2011 elections, winning 47% of the vote to the ANC’s 46% (NFP 2%, COPE % 1%, FF+ 1%). Only 49 votes separated first and second place. Refiloe Ntsheke, the incumbent, went to the provincial legislature. The DA ended up defending the seat comfortably, winning with 55% of the vote (ANC 38%, NFP 7%). Turnout fell from 61% to 31%.
Ward 92 in Ekurhuleni (Klopper Park / Buurendal) was won by the DA’s Graham Gersbach in 2011. He is now an MPL. The DA received 84% of the vote in 2011 (ANC 14%) and retained the seat on Wednesday with 92% of the vote (ANC 8%). Turnout fell from 62% to 23%.
In Randfontein, ward 11 (Mohlakeng Extensions 3 and 11) was won by the ANC in 2011 with 86% in 2011 (DA 10%, COPE 3%, FF+ 1%). The ANC retained the seat on Wednesday, following the death of its councillor, with 82% of the vote to the DA’s 18%. Turnout fell from 46% to 28%.
In Johannesburg in ward 57 (Regents Park / South Hills / Elands Park) the DA defended a ward that it won with 58% in 2011 (ANC 38%, COPE 1%, IFP 1%, FF+ 1%), increasing its share of the vote to 66% (ANC 34%). The incumbent, Bev Turk, left the DA to campaign for the ANC. Turnout fell from 56% to 22%.
In Johannesburg ward 58 (Fordsburg / Mayfair / Jan Hofmeyer) the DA suffered an upset, losing its only ward of the evening to the ANC. The party had won the ward in 2011 with 49% of the vote (ANC 42%, Al Jama-ah 5%) and defended the ward in a 2012 by-election but could not prevail on Wednesday. The party received 32% of the vote to the ANC’s 35%, with 27% going to an independent candidate, Kashore Nair. Turnout fell from 49% to 22%.
Mr Nair may have taken enough votes from the DA to allow the ANC to pull ahead by 116 votes. Or maybe the voters are tired of the DA incumbency; there is unhappiness by the community over service delivery in the ward, which the DA has attributed to obstruction in the ANC-led council.
In ward 112 of Johannesburg (Kyalami Estate / Vorna Valley), the DA defended a ward that it had won with 61% (ANC 33%, ACDP 2%, COPE 1%). The incumbent DA councillor defected to the ANC and contested the ward for the party on Wednesday. The DA retained the seat with 78% to the ANC’s 22%. Turnout fell from 60% to 18%.
In ward 18 of Johannesburg (Malvern / Cyrildene / Kensington) the DA defended its seat following its councillor’s defection to the ANC. The party received 60% of the vote in 2011 (ANC 34%, IFP 2%, ACDP 1%, COPE 1%) and increased this to 75% on Wednesday (ANC 23%, IFP 1%). Turnout fell from 51% to 20%.
Seven wards were contested in KwaZulu-Natal, four of these in the Ethekwini metro. In ward 18 of Ethekwini (Pinetown / Cowies Hill) the DA incumbent joined the national assembly. The DA won with ward with 78% in 2011 (ANC 18%, ACDP 1%, IFP 1%, NFP 1%). The party retained the ward with 91% (ANC 9%). Turnout fell from 62% to 27%.
In ward 36 of the metro (Durban North / Virginia) the DA won with 84% of the vote in 2011 (ANC 12%, ACDP 1%, IFP 1%, NFP 1%). Following the resignation of the councillor, the party retained its seat with 95% (ANC 5%). Turnout fell from 61% to 31%.
In Ethekwini ward 58 (Phoenix Heights / Westham) the Minority Front (MF) lost its seat to the DA. The MF had won the seat with 38% of the vote in 2011 (DA 35%, 19% ANC) but could only manage 16% on Wednesday to the DA’s 54% and the ANC’s 30%. Turnout fell from 56% to 26%.
In Ethekwini ward 73 (Chatsworth / Montford) the MF lost a second ward to the DA. The party won the ward in 2011 with 51% of the vote (DA 32%, ANC 7%) but only received 17% on Wednesday. The DA won convincingly with 71% of the vote (ANC 12%) Turnout fell from 54% to 24%.
In Endumeni ward 4 (Dundee Central / Sibongile) the ANC defended its ward following the resignation of its councillor (who ran on Wednesday as an independent). The ANC won the ward with 52% in 2011 (IFP 21%, DA 14%, NFP 13%) and was returned to power with 40% on Wednesday. The ANC almost lost the ward to its former councillor, who took 32% of the vote (NFP 16%, IFP 12%).
The IFP successfully defended ward 6 of Hlabisa (Matshamnyama / Mthwadlana) following the resignation of its councillor. Before the by-election, the party held 9 of the 16 council seats, following its own victory in ward 2 in a December 2012 by-election. The IFP won the ward in 2011 with 44% of the vote (NFP 30%, ANC 26%) and retained it on Wednesday with 41% (NFP 31%, ANC 27%). Turnout fell very slightly, from 67% to 63%.
In ward 22 of Kwadukuza (Ballito / Salt Rock) the DA defended its seat following the incumbent’s move to the provincial legislature. The party won the ward with only 51% in 2011 (ANC 44%, ACDP 2%) and by only 227 votes, but performed better in the 2014 national elections. On Wednesday the DA won with 67% of the vote (ANC 33%). Turnout fell from 72% to 41%.
In Mpumalanga, the DA defended two wards, following the election of both councillors to the national assembly. In ward 30 of Govan Mbeki (Secunda / Kruinpark) the party won with 85% in 2011 (ANC 8%, FF+ 5%, ACDP 2%) and retained the ward with 92% (FF+ 5%, ANC 3%) on Wednesday. Turnout fell from 61% to 22%.
In ward 18 of Emalahleni (Witbank / Reino Ridge) the DA won the seat in 2011 with 86% (ANC 12%, FF+ 2%) and retained it with 91% (ANC 9%) on Wednesday. Turnout fell from 65% to 25%.
In the Northern Cape, COPE lost a ward to the ANC, following the resignation of its ward councillor. The party had won ward 9 of Kai !Garib (Kenhardt) in 2011 with 44% of the vote (ANC 38%, DA 17%) but only managed 8% on Wednesday. The ANC swept the ward with 64% of the vote (DA 29%). Voter turnout fell from 68% to 56%.
In the Western Cape, the DA successfully defended ward 5 of Knysna (Rheenendal) following the death of its councillor. The party won the ward in 2011 with 78% (ANC 19%, ACDP 2%) and retained it with 75% on Wednesday (ANC 25%). Turnout fell from 69% to 60%.
Overall, the ANC had the best of the by-elections, winning two wards. The DA lost a shaky Fordsburg ward but took two other wards from the MF and increased its share of the vote in most of the other wards. There will be more by-elections in the months to come that have been triggered by the movement of ward councillors to provincial and national office. DM
Election officials set up a new voting station sign at a polling station in Bekkersdal, Johannesburg, South Africa, 07 May 2014. EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
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