The African National Congress (ANC) lost a ward to the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Walter Sisulu municipality in the Eastern Cape on Wednesday night, but also had a convincing hold in a rural ward in Mbhashe, also in the Eastern Cape.
Ward 3 (Burgersdorp Mzamomhle) in Walter Sisulu in the Eastern Cape. DA 51% (40%) ANC 38% (50%) EFF 8% (5%)
The Walter Sisulu municipality is an ANC-controlled inland municipality in the Eastern Cape which sits next to the Gariep Dam, and some of it borders the Free State. Its main towns are Aliwal North, Burgersdorp and Venterstad. The municipality was formed after the 2016 local government elections when the Gariep and the Maletswai municipalities merged. It is part of the Joe Gqabi district which is an inland, rural district which borders the Free State, Lesotho and KwaZulu-Natal.
Ward 3 is centred around the town of Burgersdorp, Mzamomhle and a rural voting district in Knapdaar which lies between Burgersdorp and the Gariep Dam. In 2016 the DA relied heavily on the voting districts in Burgersdorp and also carried Knapdaar, but the ANC was able to win the ward by running up the numbers in Mzamomhle. The ANC won the ward by 235 votes in 2016.
The DA needed a 7% swing in this by-election to win the ward from the ANC and ended up getting a slightly bigger swing and triumphed here by 166 votes on Wednesday night.
None of the five voting districts changed hands on Wednesday night, but the DA made good inroads in the two Mzamomhle voting districts and was able to increase its percentage share of the vote in all five voting districts. The ANC’s percentage vote share decreased in all five voting districts.
The Chris Hani Hall voting district is where the ANC was most reliant on votes. In 2016, the ANC won 82% of the vote here. On Wednesday night this fell to 58%, with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) winning 20% of the vote (7% in 2016) and the DA getting 18% (7% in 2016). At the smaller Nkqubela Crèche voting district in Mzamomhle, the ANC’s percentage vote share fell from 81% to 60%. The DA in contrast went from 6% in 2016 to 33%. Registered voter turnout percentage was highest in this ward. The ANC majority in this voting district went from 203 votes to 62. A significant decrease for the ANC.
Even though turnout was lower in Burgersdorp than in Mzamomhle, the DA was still able to increase its percentage vote share at the Burgersdorp Rugby Club voting district, getting 87%, compared to 75% of the vote in 2016. The ANC’s percentage vote share almost halved here as they went from 23% to 12%. The DA was also able to increase its vote share in the two smallest voting districts of the ward at Kroonvlei and Knapdaar. Turnout for the by-election was 45%.
The ANC now has 14 out of the 22 seats on the Walter Sisulu council, with the DA going up to six seats. The EFF and local party, the Maletswai Civic Association, have one seat each.
Ward 29 (Mtokwane Kwilini) in Mbhashe in the Eastern Cape. ANC 84% (77% PR) UDM 11% (14% PR) EFF 4% (3% PR) PAC 1%.
The Mbhashe municipality is an ANC-controlled rural municipality in the Eastern Cape which sits in the Amathole District in the former Transkei. Towns in Mbhashe include Dutywa and Willowvale. It also includes the Dwesa-Cweba nature reserve.
Ward 29 has 13 voting districts and is a rural inland ward which is comprised of villages and small settlements.
As a mode of comparison, the proportional representation ballot result from 2016 is used instead of the ward result, as an independent candidate ran here in 2016 and won 33% of the vote. The ANC had a great result here on Wednesday night. They went up from 77% to the near mid-80% mark. The ANC won more than 80% of the vote in 10/13 voting districts, and won over 90% of the vote in three of the voting districts. They got more than 66% of the vote in all 13 voting districts. These are great numbers for the ANC. Their main rival in the ward – the United Democratic Movement (UDM) – lost ground.
This result is a good omen for the ANC as we head to the 2019 elections. Turnout was 45%.
There will be two by-elections next week. The DA defends a marginal ward in Siyancuma (Douglas) in the Northern Cape, and the ANC defends a safe seat in Moses Kotane (Silwerkrans Vrede) in North West. The ANC has had its fair share of challenges in North West and it will be interesting to observe whether the EFF can give them a fright here next week. DM
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