South Africa


Western Cape: DA the biggest winner after all municipal councils are constituted

Western Cape: DA the biggest winner after all municipal councils are constituted
John Steenhuisen during the Democratic Alliance (DA) manifesto launch at the Rand Stadium on February 23, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Deaan Vivier)

With the deadlines for municipal councils to be established now gone, the Democratic Alliance emerged as the biggest winner in the Western Cape.

As results emerged from the 2021 municipal elections, the DA won majorities in nine out of 30 municipalities in the province, including the only metro, the City of Cape Town. Other municipalities the party won were Bergrivier, Swartland, Mossel Bay, Hessequa, Swellendam, Overstrand, Stellenbosch and Drakenstein. 

However, 16 councils were hung after political parties failed to score enough votes to govern with an outright majority.  (Read here.)

The 16 hung councils are: Bitou, Knysna, George, Prince Albert, Breede Valley, Cederberg, Saldanha Bay, Theewaterskloof, Cape Agulhas, Oudtshoorn, Langeberg, Witzenberg, Kannaland, Beaufort West, Matzikama and Laingsburg. (Click on the councils in this interactive map with pop-ups to see final outcomes)


Over the last fortnight, following speculation over which parties would join a coalition, results slowly trickled in: newcomers the Patriotic Alliance (PA) took mayorship of two municipalities, Theewaterskloof and Beaufort West, with the support of the ANC. In Oudtshoorn the ANC and Icosa worked together, allowing 24-year-old Chad Louw (ANC) to become the town’s mayor. The municipality is the only one governed by the ANC; in other municipalities it is working with parties such as the PA and the Karoo Democratic Force in roles such as deputy mayor or Speaker. 

In the troubled Kannaland municipality, the ANC and Icosa worked together to govern the municipality – but the town’s mayor, Jeffrey Donson, has come under fire after it emerged he had been convicted of the rape of a minor. His party, Icosa, told News24 that Donson won’t be removed from his position. Icosa’s coalition partner, the ANC, said it would review the coalition agreement between the two parties. 

The DA gained the biggest chunk of the 16 hung councils, winning nine of them. In Bitou, the party joined forces with the Active United Front (with whom it had previously worked) and newcomers Plett Democratic Congress to form a majority in the council. 

In nearby Knysna, things were a bit more complicated: last week the council sitting was postponed after the EFF (which holds one seat in the 21-seat council) abstained from voting for a Speaker – who would oversee the election of a new mayor and deputy – from being sworn in. 

During a new council sitting on Monday, 22 November, the DA took the mayoral chain of Knysna while former DA mayor Mark Willemse became deputy mayor. Willemse is a member of the Knysna Independent Movement. It would appear that the EFF voted for the DA’s mayoral candidate Levael Davis, for Willemse and DA Speaker Julie Lopes. 

On the other side of the province, in the Cederberg municipality, the DA worked with the Cederberg Eerste party. In this case, the DA will take up the Speaker role, while Cederberg Eerste’s Dr Ruben Richards was sworn in as mayor. 

In Cape Agulhas and Langeberg, the DA worked with the Freedom Front Plus to secure a majority.

In Witzenberg municipality, there is a DA mayor, Good deputy mayor and an ANC Speaker. 

Daily Maverick contacted DA Western Cape leader Albert Fritz about how it managed to get coalitions in place. He referred us to the DA Federal Council Chairperson, Helen Zille, who had not responded to phone calls and messages by the time of publication. 

Now that all councils are established, the MEC for Local Government, Environment Affairs and Development, Anton Bredell, said on Wednesday: “I want to say good luck and all the very best for the next five years. My door is open to every mayor and elected official and my department is always ready to provide any support that councils may need.”  

While the municipal councils are now constituted, the five district councils, Cape Winelands, Overberg, Garden Route, Central Karoo and West Coast, need to be finalised.  

Bredell said: “These five district councils will now hold their first council meetings and elect their representatives. I want to wish them the best of luck in finalising the processes before we can all get on with delivering services to our communities.” DM

[hearken id=”daily-maverick/8835″]


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Dhasagan Pillay says:

    Let’s hope that WC provincial and local governance structures can find ways to work for the benefit of all. Because that’s all the electorate actually wants, not posturing and rhetoric. It would be so inspiring if Witzenberg, especially, can shine as an example of true co-operative governance.
    Good luck to all the officials in delivering great service. 🙂

  • Chris 123 says:

    What on earth are the morals of the people of Kaanenberg

  • Johan Buys says:

    How is losing outright majority of what on quick look reads like 9 councils count as a victory?

    Voters have sent a message : keep national party politics, and party cadres parachuted into councils, out of local government.

    • Coen Gous says:

      For once I read a comment today on DM, any article, that is worthwhile reading.
      The headline of this article is also wrong. In my municipality, Saldanha Bay, the only council member announced at time of writing is what they now call Executive Major (a promotion?), a guy called Truter, some DA guy. He replaced Koen, the previous DA major, whom was more interested in a plague being erected in his name, on a heritage site, than actually leading. No Dep. Major or speaker as yet announced at time of writing. Despite contacting the municipality directly, no-one could even tell me which other parties are now part of the coalition, which also became a hung council in the recent elections.
      So how the hell must residents interpret this? The only conclusion I can make is that the national federal councils of parties will try there utmost to also govern at local municipalities

  • Michel Rouillard says:

    It appears to me your arithmetic is wrong? By my count, working carefully through the results of each municipality (some of which have since been confirmed) it appears that the DA has won 19 (not 17) Municipalities out of the 25 Cape Munic.s, whereas the ANC Coalitions won 6 (not 8). What am I missing?

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted


This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.

Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Daily Maverick Elections Toolbox

Feeling powerless in politics?

Equip yourself with the tools you need for an informed decision this election. Get the Elections Toolbox with shareable party manifesto guide.