BY-ELECTIONS

DA wins ward off the ANC in Western Cape, while ANC has solid holds in Johannesburg

By Wayne Sussman 11 April 2019

An Election Commission worker tears a ballot paper at a voting station during local municipal elections in Meyerton, Midvaal Municipality, south of Johannesburg. EPA/KEVIN SUTHERLAND

The Democratic Alliance claimed Ward 4 in Hessequa on Thursday night to win outright control of the municipality. The ANC had solid holds in two strongholds in Johannesburg in what proved to be an eventful night in the last round of by-elections before the 2019 national and provincial elections. Here is analysis of all the results.

Eastern Cape

Ward 2 (Graaff-Reinet Nieu-Bethesda) in Dr Beyers Naude DA 79% (76%) ANC 21% (21%).

Dr Beyers Naude municipality was formed after the 2016 local government elections when Camdeboo (Graaff Reinet), Baviaans (Willowmore) and Ikhwezi (Jansenville) amalgamated. The municipality falls in the Sarah Baartman district of the province.

The DA had a comfortable hold in this contest. They were able to get a higher percentage share of the vote in Graaff-Reinet, while the ANC was able to get a higher percentage share of the vote in the smaller district of Nieu-Bethesda.

Turn-out was 48% (68%).

Ward 18 (KwaTshatshu KuGongqo) in Intsika Yethu ANC 76% (83%) UDM 20% (3%) EFF 4% (6%)

This is a ward north of Cofimvaba. The ward sits between the R61 and the R410 roads and is comprised of villages and small rural settlements. Intsika Yethu is part of the Chris Hani District.

The ANC had a comfortable hold here last night. They did lose ground to the United Democratic Movement (UDM) who picked up 20% of the vote in a ward where they had paltry returns in 2016. The UDM got 30% of the vote in Lower Ncora and 24% of the vote in KuGongqo. This resulted in the ANC percentage vote share falling from 86% to 63% in Lower Ncora, and from 92% to 74% in KuGongqo.

The ANC was able to minimise its losses by increasing its percentage vote share in the villages of Kubanti and Tabazini.

This was a tough result for the EFF who still have a lot of work to do in the Eastern Cape. It is clear from this result that UDM leader Bantu Holomisa needs to maximise his time over the next few weeks in the rural Eastern Cape.

Turn-out was a good 51% (58%).

Gauteng

Ward 50 in the City of Johannesburg (Soweto Doornkop) ANC 72% (77%) EFF 11% Independent-Sesolo 7% DA 5% (6%) ATM 5%

Doornkop sits next to R558 on the road to Krugersdorp. The independent candidate in the race had former links to both the DA and the ANC.

The ANC might have lost some ground, but they still had an easy hold in this Gauteng by-election. The voting districts which saw the party lose the most ground where the two districts where the independent performed the best. The ANC will be reasonably confident that it will claw back the votes lost to the independent in May. The ANC will also be satisfied that neither the EFF nor the DA were able to grow in this by-election.

Turn-out was 26% (55%). This is in line with other turn-outs in Johannesburg by-elections.

Ward 122 (Vlakfontein Lehae) in the City of Johannesburg ANC 73% (70%) EFF 11% (12%) DA 8% (11%) IFP 3% (4%) ACDP 2% ATM 2%

This ward comprises of 4 areas on the outskirts of Johannesburg near Lenasia. It includes Vlakfontein, Lehae, Zakariyya Park and Eikenhof.

The ANC not only held their own here but showed some growth, while both the EFF and DA could not match their 2016 performance. This is a promising result for the ANC. They had major growth in Zakariyya Park where their vote went from 51% to 83%, while the DA’s support fell from 27% to 10% in the district.

Turn-out was 28% (58%).

Ward 8 (Toekomsrus Bhongweni) in Rand West City DA 51% (46%) ANC 39% (40%) EFF 9% ACM 1%

Rand West City was formed after the 2016 local government elections when there was a merger between Randfontein and Westonaria municipalities. Ward 8 sits close to Randfontein and includes Toekomsrus, the mining village of Bhongweni, and Homelake.

The DA was able to exhibit growth in Toekomsrus, and also eat into the ANC’s majority in Bhongweni, growing their percentage vote share from 6% to 26% in Bhongweni, while the ANC’s fell from 76% to 66%.

This was a solid hold for the DA in what was the most vulnerable Gauteng ward up for grabs last night.

Hlaudi Motsonoeng’s African Content Movement (ACM) contested here last night and only garnered 1%.

Turn-out was 32%, well down from the 61% in 2016.

KwaZulu-Natal

Ward 21 (Hlahlindela Ezidulini) in AbaQulusi ANC 50% (45%) IFP 47% (44%) NFP 2% EFF 1% (3%)

This was the second big by-election in this northern embattled northern KZN municipality within a fortnight.

The by-election took place in the villages of Hlalhlindela and Ezidulini are near Vryheid and Mondlo. AbaQulusi is part of the Zululand district municipality in northern KwaZulu-Natal. The municipality was recently put under administration by the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs in KwaZulu-Natal. The ANC picked up a ward here two weeks ago, and the result of that win was that the council had the potential to be hung, if the ANC could retain this super marginal seat. They beat the IFP by a measly 11 votes in 2016. A win here for the ANC would ensure that the council was hung, and allow the party to talk to the EFF and get their support from the outside so that they could end the stalemate. This would not be the first time the EFF has assisted the ANC on a local government level. They would replicate what they have done in Nelson Mandela Bay and give outside support to the ANC so that the ANC can govern here.

It was another close contest last night as both of the major parties grew, leaving the NFP and the EFF to pick up the scraps. The ANC won by 57 votes last night, getting perilously close to the 50% mark.

While the IFP won three out of the five voting districts, the ANC was able to flip one of the IFP Hlahlindela voting districts and win it handsomely by just under 150 votes. It was the result here which saw the ANC first over the finish line.

The council composition remains ANC 22 seats, IFP 18, DA 3 and EFF 1

Turn-out was 57% (56%)

Ward 4 (Dukuza Hoffenthal) in Okhahlamba ANC 35% (52%) IFP 26% (26%) NFP 24% EFF 12% (3%) ATM 2% COPE 1% (8%).

Ward 4 includes the village of Dukuza and the mission station of Hoffenthal. It is a rural ward to the east and south east of the town of Bergville near the Drakensberg.It is part of the uThukela District.

The ANC got a fright here last night, as the struggling National Freedom Party (NFP) picked up 24% of the vote, and the EFF quadrupled their vote from 3% to 12%. The IFP was unable to grow their percentage vote share and were not able to catch the ANC in a very competitive race, as the ANC received 256 more votes than the IFP. This result will give the ANC pause for thought in a province where they had shown a lot of recent momentum.

While the IFP finished closer to the ANC, their voting percentage remained the same. The result will give the NFP a real boost as they will use this result as a rebuke to those who predict their demise in May. This is not natural EFF turf. The growth for the party augurs well for them. The African Transformation Movement (ATM) could only get 2% of the vote in this ward, while COPE, a third place finisher in the ward in 2016 came last. This is not a good result for Mosiuoa Lekota.

Turn-out was a staggering 66% (60%).

Ward 13 (Breyten Kwazanele) in Msukaligwa ANC 62% (79%) EFF 36% (13%) IFP 2% (1%)

Msukaligwa is also part of the Gert Sibande District. It lies near, but not next to the Swazi border. Its principal town is Ermelo. Ward 13 is in the small town of Breyten and the neighbouring township of Kwazanele.

The EFF made a giant leap in this ward. Their returns in the voting districts went from 12-14% to 36-38%, while the ANC’s returns in the two voting districts fell from 77-84% to 60-63%. Results like this will convince the EFF that they can become the new official opposition in Mpumalanga.

Turnout was 33% (52%).

Northern Cape

Ward 28 (Colville Beaconsfield) in Sol Plaatje DA 55% (63% PR*) ANC 42% (29% PR) EFF 3% (3% PR)

In February, the ANC easily defended 6 out of the 7 wards here during a big round of Sol Plaatje by-elections. They lost one ward to the incumbent councillor who ran as an independent after being expelled from the party. The party had another good showing in Kimberley last night pushing the DA hard in a relatively safe DA ward. The previous DA councillor for this ward defected to the ANC, but did not contest here last night.

Colville, the largest district in the ward, saw the DA’s percentage vote share on the proportional ballot declined from 59% to 52%, while the ANC’s went from 36% to 45%. Turn-out was incredibly low at Beaconsfield, where only 24% of registered voters showed up. The DA’s percentage vote share fell from 66% to 50%, while the ANC’s percentage vote share more than doubled, going from 21% to 47%. At the Yonder Resource Centre voting district, the smallest voting district in the ward, 10% of the ballots were spoiled. It must be noted that the VF+ did not run this time, and were able to secure 9% of the vote at this district in 2016. One has to suspect that there is a reasonably strong correlation between the VF+ staying out of the race, and the number of spoiled ballots.

Turn-out was 51% (64%).

Mpumalanga

There were different trends in the two Gert Sibande District by elections in Mpumalanga last night.

Ward 6 (Mpuluzi Elukwatini) in Chief Albert Luthuli ANC 87% (80%) EFF 7% (9%) IFP 6% (3%).

Chief Albert Luthuli’s principal town is Carolina. It forms part of the Gert Sibande District. The two main towns of this ward are Elukwatini and Mpuluzi which both lie close to the border with Swaziland.

The ANC romped to victory here, and the Mpumalanga ANC activists sent a strong message to their fellow party members, reminding them why this was the best performing province in the 2014 elections. The EFF will have high hopes of replacing the DA as the official opposition in the province. This result will disappoint them.

A closer analysis of the results shows that the principal growth for the party in the ward was in Elukwatini where it got between 98-99% of the vote in the three voting districts. In 2016 it ranged between 83-93% in the town. These are remarkable returns.

Turn-out was 42% (57%).

Ward 13 (Breyten Kwazanele) in Msukaligwa ANC 62% (79%) EFF 36% (13%) IFP 2% (1%)

Msukaligwa is also part of the Gert Sibande District. It lies near, but not next to the Swazi border. Its principal town is Ermelo. Ward 13 is in the small town of Breyten and the neighbouring township of Kwazanele.

The EFF made a giant leap in this ward. Their returns in the voting districts went from 12-14% to 36-38%, while the ANC’s returns in the two voting districts fell from 77-84% to 60-63%. Results like this will convince the EFF that they can become the new official opposition in Mpumalanga.

Turnout was 33% (52%).

Western Cape

Ward 4 in Hessequa (Heidelberg Slangrivier) DA 54% (34%) ANC 40% (49%) Independent-Hoogbaard 3% (2%) Independent-September 2% VF+ 1% (3%)

Hessequa’s principal towns are Heidelberg and Riverdale. Before this by-election the VF+ held the balance of power. It is the only municipality in the Western Cape where the DA governs with the VF+. A win here by the DA would give them the option to govern here without the VF+.

Ward 4 includes the Diepkloof area of Heidelberg, an ANC stronghold. Slangrivier an area where the ANC essentially beat the DA to 2:1 in 2016, and then Witsand which is a DA stronghold, and Vondeling a rural voting district between Witsand and Slangrivier, which is another DA stronghold.

The ANC won here by 366 votes in 2016, getting just under half of the vote. Independent Civics Organization of South Africa (ICOSA) came third here in 2016 and did not contest here last night. The DA candidate and one of the independent came from the more populous Slangrivier, while the candidates for the ANC and the VF+ and the other independent candidate came from Heidelberg.

In Witsand, the VF+ was able to bring the DA to under 90% by increasing their returns in the voting district from 6% to 11%.

In the ANC stronghold of Diepkloof in Heidelberg, the ANC’s percentage returns fell to 64% from 81%, while the DA’s percentage returns went from 14% to 34%, impressive growth for the DA. In Slangrivier, the largest voting district in the ward, the DA flipped the district by getting 55% of the vote, way up from the 25% they received in 2016, while the ANC went from 49% to 37%. ICOSA got 18% of the vote in Slangrivier in 2016. Their supporters clearly gave their support to the DA here last night. At Vondeling, the DA received 90% of the vote, up from 76%, and the ANC’s percentage vote share went from 12% to 8%.

There was a big swing to the DA last night, and they now have outright control of the municipality. The extra seat for the DA will result in the following composition – DA 9 (8) + VF+ 1 vs ANC 7 (8). It is unlikely that the DA will end its coalition with the VF+ in Hessequa as this could have ramifications for their coalition with the VF+ in Tshwane and Johannesburg, and more importantly, if the DA do lose outright control of the Western Cape after the May elections, they might well come knocking on Pieter Groenewald and Pieter Marais’ door.

This will also boost the party’s morale as they go into a provincial election where they not only have to fend off the ANC, but Patricia De Lille’s GOOD party, and the ACDP and the VF+ on the right.

Turn-out was a very high 68% (74%).

Ward 18 in George (Denneoord and Loerie Park) DA 74% (83%) VF+ 17% (14%) ACDP 8% (3%)

This was the second by-election in Ward 18 since 2016, with the last by-election taking place less than 12 months ago. The DA were hurt by the VF+ in 2018 and the party again showed pluckiness last night to finish with a strong second place finish, well ahead of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP). The VF+ got 20% of the vote in the Loerie Park voting district. This second place showing is significant as the ACDP fielded a high profile local candidate who was a former DA ward councillor for this ward.

The DA got 93% of the vote in the ward in 2016. There have been now two successive by-elections in this super safe seat where the party has been squeezed from the right by the VF+ and now the ACDP. The DA will need to spend a good amount of time in the George suburbs before the general election and reconnect with those DA voters who backed them in 2016.

Turn-out was 43%. That is a good turn-out for a suburban ward where there have two by-elections in quick succession. In 2018 the Turn-out was 40%.

Ward 9 in Stellenbosch (Central) DA 99% (94%) ANC 1% (1%)

This is a ward in the heart of the university town of Stellenbosch. The DA had an emphatic victory here, but will be concerned by the very low Turn-out. A reason for the low Turn-out could be their supporters seeing little reason to vote in a super safe DA seat.

Turn-out was 16% (56%).

This was the last round of by-elections before the general elections in May. The ANC showed stability in the two Johannesburg by-elections and ran up the numbers in Dr Albert Luthuli. They also had a key hold in AbaQulusi and gave the DA a fright in Sol Plaatje in the Northern Cape. At the same time, they lost a ward to the DA in Hessequa in the Western Cape, and were made to sweat in Okhahambla.

The DA won outright control of Hessequa by seeing a huge swing to the party from the ANC. They also had big holds in Dr. Beyers Naude and Stellenbosch, while holding off the ANC in Rand West City. The DA will be concerned by their inability to grow in the two Johannesburg by-elections and the low Turn-out amongst white Afrikaans voters who either stayed away (Witsand voting district in Hessequa), Stellenbosch and Beaconsfield voting district in Sol Plaatje) or gave their vote to the VF+.

The EFF had a tough night, its bright spot was the growth in Okhahambla. The IFP could not win a ward off the ANC in AbaQulusi but showed some growth there, and came closer to the ANC in Okhahambla. The VF+ continue to pick up conservative white DA voters in the Western Cape. The ATM were not able to replicate their Nyandeni by-election result from two weeks ago, but still made some mark in the by-elections they contested. DM

* Proportional Representation (PR) ballots get indicated when it better explains the dynamics of the ward then the previous ward result. An independent received a sizeable chunk of the vote here in 2016, thus the comparison with the PR ballot

This article was updated at 3.55pm on 11 April 2019 to include the Ward 13 results for Mpumalanga. 

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