IFP cleans up in KZN, ANC shows Eastern durability despite impressive PA showing
The IFP more than doubled its support in a ward near Greytown to win a seat off the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal. In the Eastern Cape, the ANC was predictably rock-solid as the party retained two seats, with the Patriotic Alliance surging in a ward at the edge of Tsitsikamma and the DA making inroads in a rural seat near the town of Port St Johns.
Ward 2 (Matimatolo) uMvoti in uMzinyathi: IFP 53% (25%) ANC 24% (47%) ABC 19% (23%) EFF 3% (3%)
The setting: Matimatolo is a rural part of uMvoti, southeast of Greytown. It is southwest of the town of Maphumulo. Matimatolo borders the Maphumulo municipality. The seat of uMvoti is Greytown. Kranskop is also part of uMvoti. It falls in the broader uMzinyathi district which includes the northern KwaZulu-Natal towns of Dundee, Tugela Ferry and Nqutu.
The 2021 local government elections: The ANC had to contend with both the IFP and the Abantu Batho Congress (ABC) in this ward but ended up winning here by a margin of close to two votes to one over the second-placed IFP. The bulk of the voters in the ward cast their votes at Busana High School. The ANC won 58% of the vote here and ran up the numbers. The other two voting districts were more competitive.
Both the ANC and the IFP lost ground in uMvoti in the 2021 local government elections. The ANC lost its outright majority by falling from 15 seats to 10 on the 27-seat council. The IFP lost two of the 11 seats it went into the local government elections with, leaving it with nine councillors on the council. Where did these seven seats go? They were won by the ABC. This is where the party leader of the ABC hails from and is also the municipality where it did best in 2021. The DA won a single seat to complete the seat allocation.
The by-election: The previous ward councillor died. This was the fourth by-election in uMvoti since the local government elections. No seats changed hands in the previous three elections. ABC leader, former eThekwini deputy mayor and recent candidate in an eThekwini by-election, PG Mavundla, was the most high-profile candidate in the by-election.
The IFP won all three voting districts comfortably. At the Matimatolo Tent voting station the party went from 27% of the vote to 65%, while the ANC fell from 39% to 19%. The ABC saw its support go from 29% to 13%. At Busana High School the IFP climbed from 18% to 47%, while the ANC crashed from 58% to 25%. Here the ABC made some gains, moving from 22% to 25%.
The IFP is now the largest party in uMvoti since it has 10 (nine) seats. The ANC now has nine (10) seats. Despite the win, the IFP should still lose control of uMvoti because the ANC and ABC’s working arrangement gives them 16 of the 27 seats on the council.
Poll: 51% (52%)
Ward 5 (Clarkson Woodlands) in Kou-Kamma, Sarah Baartman: ANC 46% (50%) PA 37% (13%) DA 12% (27%) EFF 4% (5%)
The setting: Most voters in Ward 5 live in Clarkson, a Moravian mission station which sits below Kareedouw, just off the N2 national road between Humansdorp and Storms River. It also includes Woodlands (Oubosrand) at the edge of the Tsitsikamma National Park. Other villages in the ward are Witelsbos and Eersterivierstrand.
Kou-Kamma is in the western part of the Eastern Cape and borders the Western Cape. Towns include Joubertina and Kareedouw. The area is known for its forestry and deciduous fruit farming, producing apples and pears. It forms part of the massive Sarah Baartman district which covers most of the western part of the Eastern Cape. Notable towns here are Graaff-Reinet, Somerset East, Makhanda, Port Alfred and Humansdorp.
The 2021 local government elections: The ANC won half of the vote here in 2021, almost doubling the percentage received by the DA. The ruling party won four of the seven voting districts in the ward, with handsome majorities in the vote-rich Clarkson and Woodlands districts. The DA won the remaining three districts, including Witelsbos and Eersterivierstrand. The Patriotic Alliance (PA) had a credible third place, largely built around its showing in Woodlands where it won 22% of the vote.
The ANC retained its six seats in Kou-Kamma, giving the party an outright majority on the 11-seat council. The DA lost out in Kou-Kamma, where its performance was emblematic of who they lost ground to in large swathes of South Africa. The party lost two of its five seats, to the PA and the FF+.
Read more in Daily Maverick: ANC, DA reassert dominance with big wins in KZN and Gauteng
The by-election: The previous ward councillor passed away. The ANC showed its trademark Eastern Cape durability to retain this ward. The PA made big inroads, and as per the trend from the local government election in Kou-Kamma, this growth was largely at the expense of the DA. The PA won two of the voting districts in the ward, including the most vote-rich district – Clarkson. Here it won 45% of the vote, well up from 13% in 2021. The ANC declined here from 53% to 34%, and the DA lost significant ground, receding from 29% to 17%. The PA also won the Gustav Reichel voting district in Eersterivier, south of Clarkson, going from a meagre 3% to an impressive 45%. The ANC remained on 36% while the DA fell from 42% to 18%.
What was key for the ANC was Woodlands, the district with the second-highest number of registered voters in the ward. It had the most voters on the day with 67% turning out, compared with 47% in Clarkson. The ANCs support fell from 56% to 51% while the PA made large strides from 22% to 42%, largely at the expense of the DA which went from 20% to 7%. The 80-vote margin between the ANC and PA was vital for the incumbent party. The ANC also won the small Koomansbosch Church voting district off the DA. Only 2% of the ward is registered in this district, however, with the ANC winning 81% of the vote it was able to create a good buffer of 49 votes between it and the PA. The PA would be unable to bridge the gap the ANC created in Woodlands and Koomansbosch Church. The result will still greatly encourage the PA that it can make further inroads in Sarah Baartman and that this green wave can extend to the neighbouring Garden Route district of the Western Cape.
Poll: 53% (46%)
Ward 2 (Sihlanjeni Mngazana River) Port St Johns, OR Tambo: ANC 72% (71% PR*) DA 22% (10% PR) EFF 5% (9% PR) ATM 1% (2% PR)
The setting: Ward 2 is a large rural ward south and southwest of Port St Johns. It has fewer than 4,000 registered voters spread over 10 voting districts. The village of Sihlanjeni is the most vote-rich part of the ward. The ward includes villages near the Mnganzana River, which is surrounded by lush, thick mangrove forests.
OR Tambo district, an ANC heartland, includes the towns of Mthatha, Qumbu, Libode and Tsolo and covers much of the Wild Coast of South Africa.
The 2021 local government elections: The ANC won the proportional representation (PR) vote by a landslide. It won more than seven times the vote of the next-placed DA. It was however much closer on the ward ballot. The ANC held off independent candidate Patric Nomarhobo by 49 votes in a very close race. The ANC won all 10 voting districts comfortably on the PR ballot, but only carried four of the 10 districts on the ward ballot. Its margin of victory in the four districts was key to helping it prevail on the ward ballot. Nomarhobo also affected the DA and the EFF on the ward ballot.
The ANC lost no seats in Port St Johns, winning 31 out of the 39 available seats in a dominant performance. The EFF became the official opposition with three seats. It and the African Transformation Movement (ATM) gained two seats each, at the expense of a regional party, the Civic Independent (CI), which lost two seats, and the DA and the United Democratic Movement (UDM), which lost one each.
The by-election: The ward councillor resigned. The ANC recruited Nomarhobo for the by-election. He was the independent candidate who came very close to beating the ANC here in the local government elections. The ANC easily held this seat with a slight improvement on its 2021 showing on the proportional representation (PR) ballot. The party showed with this result that voters continue to have faith in it and its offering. OR Tambo will be a key part of the ANC’s campaign in 2024. Results like this highlight how resolute the party is in this part of the country.
Read more in Daily Maverick: EFF records famous victory over ANC in Free State as IFP turns tables on ruling party in KZN
The DA will be very satisfied with its 22%. It got more than 30% of the vote in four of the 10 districts. It grew from 8% to 31% in the relatively vote-rich Nokulunga Senior Secondary School district in Mawatsheni, just below Sihlanjeni. Its best showing was its growth from 7% to 37% at the Zwelenqaba School district in Mqaleni, which is close to the sea and near the Mngazana River. The DA will hope that this result will emerge as a greater pattern in rural parts of the Eastern Cape.
Poll: 52% (54%)
The next round of by-elections is on 28 June. The DA and the IFP will be defending four seats each, while the ANC will defend two. There are by-elections in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and the Western Cape. Four of those will be in metros – Johannesburg, Cape Town, eThekwini and Tshwane. DM