South Africa


ANC win another Northern KZN ward off the IFP, ATM makes strides in Eastern Cape

Archive Photo: A mother carries her baby on her back as she casts her vote during the South African municipal elections in Soweto May 18 2011. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

The African National Congress (ANC) won their fourth ward off the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) since November 2018 when they won Ward 18 in AbaQulusi (Vryheid) in the Zululand District on Wednesday night. In other by-elections also held on Wednesday, the ANC and the DA were given serious respective runs for their money by Mzwanele Manyi’s African Transformation Movement (ATM) and the Vryheids Front Plus (VF+) in traditional strongholds.


Ward 18 in AbaQulusi (Mondlo) ANC 44% (32%) IFP 43% (52%) EFF 9% (3%) NFP 4% (10%)

The by-election took place in Mondlo which is approximately 30 kilometres from Vryheid, the principal town in AbaQulusi. AbaQulusi is part of the Zululand district municipality in northern KwaZulu-Natal. This was the second by-election in Ward 18 in AbaQulusi since the 2016 local government elections. In December 2017 the IFP built on their 2016 win and won the ward by a wider margin.

The municipality was recently put under administration by the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs in KwaZulu-Natal. It would appear that the voters of Mondlo supported the action of the MEC as the IFP suffered a narrow loss here on Wednesday. They came 16 votes short, as the ANC not only won the ward but also ensured that the council is hung. The ANC now have 22 (21) out of the 44 seats, while the IFP fall to 18 (19). The IFP governed in AbaQulusi with the DA’s three seats and the outside support of the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) single seat.

The EFF could replicate what they have done in Nelson Mandela Bay and give outside support to the ANC so that the ANC can govern here.

The IFP won all three voting districts in 2017. On Wednesday the ANC was able to win at the Velankosi Primary School voting district-the largest of the three voting districts. They turned around a 141 vote deficit from 2017, to win here by 161 votes. It was a big swing to the ANC, and enough to carry the party over the finishing line in first place. The ANC’s support in this district surged from 33% to 53%, while the IFP’s went down from 49% to 35%.

While the IFP won the other two voting districts, the margin of victory was not big enough to close the gap from their losses at the Velankosi Primary School district. Their percentage returns in these districts were also reduced, while the ANC exhibited growth in both of these districts.

The IFP have to pick up the pieces and focus on the elections now. The party showed impressive electoral growth in 2016 and in by-elections between the local government elections and much of 2018. Since then the party has had poor results in its traditional heartland area. Will the IFP be able to lure National Freedom Party (NFP) back in order to mask their losses to the ANC or will this poor run from November 2018 continue.

The ANC will be buoyed on by this win and remain confident that those who predicted the party will battle to replicate the success it had in the province when Jacob Zuma was party president will be proved wrong come May.

The EFF will be satisfied with their growth in this by-election. They have traditionally struggled in northern KwaZulu-Natal and have put together a good sequence of KwaZulu-Natal results in the last two rounds of by-elections. In stark contrast is the NFP. In 2011 they were a serious force in the Zululand district. Their reduced returns on Wednesday suggest a tough few weeks ahead for the party as they will fight for their survival in the province.

Turn-out was 48% (48%).


The VF+ had a very good night as they gave the DA much to think about in two super safe DA seats.

Mogale City was a municipality where the ANC fell just short of an outright majority in 2016, and was initially governed by the DA with coalition support from the VF+ and the IFP, with outside support from the EFF. This unwieldy coalition was scuppered by errant councillors who voted with the ANC and eventually handed back power to the ANC. Mogale City has had three mayors since 2016.

Ward 18 (Kenmare Krugersdorp) in Mogale City DA 70% (89%) VF+ 29% (6%) ANC 1% (4%)

Krugersdorp is the central hub of Mogale City. Kenmare is a suburb in Krugersdorp.

The DA lost ground in this traditional stronghold as the VF+ fell just short of 30% on what was great night for the VF+. While the VF+ battled it out for second place in 2016 with the ANC, they finished far ahead of the ANC on Wednesday night.

The ward result was consistent with the results from the three respective voting districts.

Turn-out was 30% (77%).

Ward 21 (Noordheuwel, Range View) in Mogale City. DA 71% (89%) VF+ 28% (6%) ANC 1% (3%).

Range View and Noordheuwel are suburbs of Krugersdorp.

These results followed a similar pattern to Ward 18. The ward result was again consistent with the results from the three respective voting districts. This was another encouraging result for the VF+.

These results indicate that the DA will have to work very hard to get their more conservative voters back on side in Gauteng for the national and provincial elections in May. The VF+ look set to finish fourth again in Gauteng. They will also hope that they can pick up another seat in Gauteng. They currently have one seat in the Gauteng legislature.

There was no sign in the suburbs of Krugersdorp that there is a trend of white voters coming over to the ANC. However, it must be remembered that Cyril Ramaphosa was not on the ballot in Mogale City on Wednesday.

Turn-out was 32% (77%).

Eastern Cape

Ward 21 (Ngqeleni and surrounding villages) in Nyandeni ANC 65% (81%) ATM 30% EFF 3% (10%) UDM 2% (5%).

Nyandeni municipality sits in the former Transkei in the OR Tambo district municipality. Its main town is Libode. This is a dominant ANC area. They control 53/63 seats on the council. It is a rural municipality comprising of many villages and sparsely populated settlements.

Ward 21 is centred around Ngqeleni, which is relatively close to Umtata.

This by-election was always going to be about the race for second spot. The results from last night showed that this was not really a contest as Mzwanele Manyi’s African Transformation Movement (ATM) took an impressive 30% of the vote. They were able to bring the ANC under two/thirds of the vote in an ultra-safe ANC seat.

The ATM made a real impact in the villages of Matanzima and Ndaya. In Matanzima (north-west of Ngqeleni), they got 44% and 47% of the vote, compared to the ANC’s 53% and 49%. In 2016 the ANC got 85% and 91% here. In Ndaya (west of Ngqeleni), the ATM won the voting district, receiving 48% of the vote compared to the ANC’s 46%. In 2016 the ANC received 81% of the vote here.

The ATM is a party to watch. This result suggests the party should not be dismissed as a social media fiction and rather be seen as a party that has real potential to make an impact on the Eastern Cape polls in May.

The EFF and United Democratic Movement (UDM) will be disappointed at these returns. Bantu Holomisa will need to look at his campaign diary for the next few weeks and ensure that he spends the bulk of his time in the Eastern Cape.

Turn-out was 42% (48%).

The by-elections scheduled for Maluti a Phofung (Phudatitjhaba) in the Free State and Mtubatuba in KZN were postponed.

The next round of by-elections, and most probably the last round of by-elections before the national and provincial elections are on 10 April when the DA defends two wards – Sol Plaatje in the Northern Cape and George in the Western Cape, and the ANC defends a safe ward in Intsika Yethu in the Eastern Cape. DM