By-election

IFP picks up ANC Ward in Mtubatuba

By Wayne Sussman 13 June 2019

Completed ballots sit on a table the evening at a polling station in Alexandra, Johannesburg, South Africa, 08 May 2019. The ruling ANC is expected to win the 5th elections since the end of Apartheid. EPA-EFE/YESHIEL PANCHIA

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) won a key by-election on Wednesday by winning a seat off the African National Congress (ANC) in a northern KwaZulu-Natal municipality. The voters gave the ANC anything but a cold winter’s shoulder in the other ward contested on Wednesday. The ANC had a convincing hold in Sol Plaatje (Kimberley) in the Northern Cape.

Ward 6 in Mtubatuba (Nkombose Enqupheni) in KwaZulu-Natal IFP 45% (38%) ANC 43% (52%) ACDP 5% EFF 5% (7%)

Mtubatuba saw fierce contestation between the IFP and the ANC between the 2016 local government elections and the 2019 national and provincial elections. The IFP first won a seat off the ANC to allow them to have the luxury of not relying on the outside support of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). The ANC then took this luxury away from the IFP by winning a seat off them to ensure that the IFP’s continued control of Mtubatuba depended on both the DA and the EFF’s support.

This contestation continued on Wednesday as the IFP won this seat off the ANC by a mere 44 votes. Ward 6 lies near the town of Mtubatuba, next to the N2 national road. Nkombose, the bigger village in the ward sits below the R618 which is the road which connects Mtubatuba with the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park. Enqupheni, the smaller village in the ward sits on the other side of the R618 road.

A deeper drill into the voting districts of the ward reveals that the results on Wednesday went in a different direction of the 2016 local government election results and the recent provincial election results in the ward’s voting districts. In 2016 and in the recent 2019 provincial elections the ANC was the bigger party in Nkombose, and the IFP was the bigger party in Enqupheni. This changed last night. The IFP won the ward because they emerged as the more popular party in Nkombose on Wednesday. Nkombose has more voters than Enqupheni. Although the ANC will be happy that they received more votes than the IFP in Enqupheni, it was not enough to close the gap and retain the seat.

The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) will be satisfied with their third-place finish here and will hope that they can win a proportional representation (PR) seat in Mtubatuba in 2021. In the recent provincial elections, the ACDP received fewer votes than the EFF in the combined results of the two voting districts in the ward, so they will be content with the fact that they pipped the EFF for that third place.

The new council composition is IFP 19 (18) + DA 2 + EFF 1 vs ANC 17 (18) + African Independent Congress (AIC) 1-Total 40.

The IFP again has the luxury of governing here without the outside support of the EFF. This could, however, be short-lived as the IFP defends a marginal ward in the municipality in late July. The ANC will want to restore the 2016 status quo in the municipality.

Turn-out was 50% (61%).

Ward 7 in Sol Plaatje (Galeshewe Vergenoeg) in the Northern Cape ANC 93% (76%) EFF 7% (13%)

Sol Plaatje is the municipality which encompasses Kimberley. It is the most populous municipality in the Northern Cape. Ward 7 is north-west of the Kimberley city centre. Galeshewe is the largest township in the city.

When one considers the performance of the two parties in the two voting districts of this ward in the 2019 provincial elections and compares it with the 2016 results here, it showed that the EFF had essentially consolidated its support in the ward with minor gains, and the ANC had lost a slither of ground. This was not the case on Wednesday as the ANC had a more than convincing hold here. The ANC got 94% of the vote in the Galeshewe voting district.

One wondered if there would be signs of a Zamani “Saul-Surge” for the ANC in the Northern Cape. The new premier received a lot of positive press and coverage for his bold announcements after announcing his provincial cabinet. The by-election results here suggest that the “Saul-Surge” could be a real thing in the province. That would be very good news for the ANC on the road to 2021.

Turn-out was 48% (56%). It must be noted that turn-out at the Galeshewe voting district, 52%, was much higher than the 40% turn-out at the Vergenoeg voting district.

The next round of by-elections will be next week when the DA will defend a super marginal seat in eNdumeni (Glencoe) in northern KwaZulu-Natal. Five other wards will also be contested next week. DM

Gallery

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