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JUNE BY-ELECTIONS

PA benefits from absent DA to trounce ANC in Joburg ward, but ruling party records crucial win over IFP in KZN

PA benefits from absent DA to trounce ANC in Joburg ward, but ruling party records crucial win over IFP in KZN
Residents braved chilly and windy weather to vote at Ennerdale Primary School on Wednesday. (Photo: Kabelo Mokoena)

The Patriotic Alliance won Ward 7 in Ennerdale and Finetown in the deep south of Johannesburg off the ANC in the latest round of by-elections. The ANC made up for this blemish by beating the IFP in a rural by-election near Estcourt in iNkosi Langalibalele, KwaZulu-Natal. The DA increased its percentage vote share in all four wards it was defending. The IFP retained three of the four seats it was contesting.

Gauteng

Ward 7 (Ennerdale, Finetown) in Johannesburg: PA 47% (34%) ANC 24% (38%) ActionSA 14% (5%) EFF 8% (6%) DA 3%* (12%) Ind-Naude 1% Al Jam-ah  1% (<1%) IFP <1% (<1%) ARM <1% (<1%)

The setting: Ward 7 is in the deep south of Johannesburg. It is next to the Grasmere Toll Plaza on the N1 National Road, near the border with the Sedibeng District. Most of the voters in the ward are in Ennerdale. Ennerdale is a traditionally coloured part of the city. Just over 40% of the voters are in Finetown township. The third part of the ward is the Meriting informal settlement, which accounts for less than 5% of the ward. 

The 2021 local government elections: The ANC held off the PA in a closely fought contest. Despite Ennerdale having a better turnout differential than Finetown, the ANC had to put up with less competition in Finetown than the PA endured in Ennerdale. The ANC ran up the numbers in Finetown, with the EFF and ActionSA winning pockets of support. In Ennerdale, despite the DA still being a shadow of its 2016 self, the party affected the PA’s charge to the finish line. ActionSA also won some support here. The ANC also won pockets of support in Ennerdale, while the PA failed to get meaningful support in Finetown. The PA was not able to win the Ennerdale voting districts by the same convincing margin as the ANC did in Finetown. This saw the ANC beat the PA by 372 votes in the ward. 

The by-election: Twice-elected ANC ward councillor Amelia Zama resigned and defected to the PA, although she was not on the ballot for the PA in the by-election. The party instead chose local activist Wizza Simonse as its candidate. The ANC chose Finetown’s Sipho Lukhele as their candidate. The third-largest party in the ward, the DA hit a serious pothole when its candidate, Randell Markgraaff, made an unprecedented decision to stand down before the election. This meant the DA would be on the ballot but without a candidate. ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba visited Meriting many times when he served as mayor of the city. There were five other candidates on the ballot, including the fourth-largest party in the city, the EFF. 

Read our Ground Level Report on the ward by Nonkululeko Njilo: Not so fine in Finetown – sewage runs in streets while residents go to the polls

The PA beat the ANC by more than 1,500 votes to win the ward. The party routed the opposition in Ennerdale. It won between 74% and 82% of the vote in the four Ennerdale voting districts, well up from the 49% to 59% in 2021. The DA’s decision to stand down in the by-election benefited the PA far more than the DA’s coalition partners, ActionSA and the IFP. In Mid-Ennerdale Primary is the most vote-rich district in the ward, the PA went from 49% to 74%, while the ANC fell from 19% to 4%. ActionSA remained on 8%, while the DA still managed to get 6%, compared with 17% in 2021. 

At the Ennerdale Evangelical Church, the Ennerdale district with the second-largest number of voters on Wednesday, the PA climbed from 52% to 76%, with the ANC declining from 26% to 9%. The DA got 5%, down from 12%. ActionSA grew modestly from 3% to 5%. 

In the four Finetown voting districts, the ANC’s returns fell between 36% and 50%, well down from the 64% to 80% in 2021. It won the ward in 2021 because of the handsome margins in Finetown. The ANC could not replicate this in the by-election. ActionSA won 16% to 40% of the vote in Finetown on Wednesday, surging from the 2% to 6% in 2021. The EFF showed some growth, going from 10%-17% to 10%-19%. The PA’s range went from <1%-4% to 7%-12%. At Finetown Primary School, the most populous district in Finetown, the ANC went from 64% to 50%. The EFF grew from 17% to 19%, ActionSA more than tripled its percentage returns by growing from 5% to 16% and the PA went from 4% to 12%. Buyani Primary School is where the second-highest number of votes were cast in Finetown. The ANC dropped from 75% to 45%, ActionSA made a big incision as it climbed from 2% to 26%. The EFF came third with 16% here, up from 11%, and the PA moved from 2% to 7%. 

To add insult to injury, the ANC lost its stronghold in the ward to ActionSA. The Al Furqaan Islamic Centre district is the least populated of the Finetown voting districts, but it was key to the ANC beating the PA in 2021. It fell sharply from 80% to 36% while ActionSA grew tenfold from 4% to 40% and the PA went from <1% to 10%. The EFF came third in this district with 12%, up from the 10% in 2021.

In Meriting, the ANC’s losses were not as severe, as it went from 53% to 47%. The PA was second with a solid 30% up from 21%. ActionSA grew from 7% to 16%, with the EFF finishing fourth on 7%, slightly down from the 9% in 2021. 

Wednesday’s by-election was held at several schools, including Ennerdale Primary. (Photo: Kabelo Mokoena)

The PA now has nine councillors in Johannesburg, while the ANC falls to 90. The two parties are in a coalition in Johannesburg. This result has no impact on that,  but it does strengthen the PA in the coalition. The party now has triple the number of councillors compared with the fourth-largest party in the coalition, Al Jam-ah. 

Poll: 34% (48%)

Ward 83 (Constantia Park, Waterkloof Glen) in Tshwane: DA 72% (69%) FF+ 24% (17%) EFF 2% (1%) ANC 2% (4%) UIM <1% (<1%)  RCT <1%  (<1%) OHM <1% (<1%)

The setting: Ward 83 includes three suburbs in the east of the capital – Constantia Park, Waterkloof Glen and Moreleta Park. The ward hosts the famous rugby school, Hoërskool Waterkloof, and Wolwespruit in the Erasmuskloof part of Pretoria. 

The 2021 local government elections: The DA lost ground in one of the bluest parts of the capital. The Freedom Front Plus (FF+) was the main beneficiary, tripling its support from the previous election, while ActionSA finished third in the ward with 5% of the vote. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: IFP cleans up in KZN, ANC shows Eastern durability despite impressive PA showing

The by-election: The ward councillor resigned because of ill-health. The DA tried to get him to delay his resignation as it created a vacancy in a council where the DA coalition has the slimmest of majorities and in a council where an ANC ally still occupies the speaker position. The by-election was expected to be a straight shootout between the DA and the FF+. 

The DA held the ward comfortably, winning over 70% of the vote, although the FF+ did gain the most ground. As per the 2021 local government elections, the results were not always consistent in the three suburbs in the ward. 

In Waterkloof Glen, the DA fell from 72% to 64% at Hoërskool Waterkloof, while at Glen High School it went from 67% to 80%. The FF+ grew from 15% to 26% at Hoërskool Waterkloof and remained on 15% at Glen High.

The FF+ will be happy with its Constantia Park returns. The party went from a range of 13%-25% in the three Constantia Park voting districts to 22%-33%. The DA grew in both the Moreleta Park voting districts, moving from 63% and 67% to 75% and 78% respectively. 

The DA can now fill the vacancy in the council and will aim to remove the current speaker who is aligned with the ANC. 

Poll: 29% (59%)

KwaZulu-Natal

Ward 11 (Newlands East, Newlands West) in eThekwini: DA 57% (41%) ANC 30% (29%) PA 5% (6%) EFF 4% (7%) ACDP 4% (4%) ARA <1% (<1%)

The setting: Newlands West and Newlands East are northwest of the Durban city centre. It is in the area between the N2 national road, the R102 Dumisani Makhaye Road and the Umgeni River. This is the part of Durban with the highest number of coloured voters. The ward also includes Quarry Heights. This is the most vote-rich district in the ward, an ANC stronghold. 

The 2021 local government elections: The DA won this ward off the ANC in the local government elections. It won seven of the eight voting districts in this ward, with only one of them closely contested. The DA won by just more than 900 votes. This was despite the ANC beating the DA by just under 950 votes in the Quarry Heights voting district. Turnout in the seven districts carried by the DA was higher than the turnout in Quarry Heights, the sole district carried by the ANC. 

The by-election: The ward councillor emigrated after getting a job offer. The IFP sat out this by-election. The party finished fifth here in 2021 with 5% of the vote.

The DA came close to beating the ANC by 2:1 in this swing ward. It increased its percentage vote share in all eight voting districts, including in Quarry Heights. It went from 59% to 97% at Briardale Primary School in Newlands West. At Roseland Primary in Newlands East it went from 44% to 70%, while the PA declined from 20% to 14%. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: ANC, DA reassert dominance with big wins in KZN and Gauteng

The ANC enjoyed a small bump in this ward. This was largely built on Quarry Heights where it grew from 72% to 84%, with the EFF shrinking from 17% to 10%.  The DA grew from 1% to 5% here. 

This is the third successive good result for the DA in eThekwini where it has momentum on the road to the 2024 elections. 

Poll: 26% (38%)

uThukela District

This district is in northwestern KwaZulu-Natal and borders Lesotho and the Free State. It played host to four of the 10 by-elections in this round, including four of the five polls in KwaZulu-Natal. The district has three municipalities – Alfred Duma (Ladysmith), Inkosi Langalibalele (Estcourt) and Okhahlamba (Bergville).

Inkosi Langalibalele

The setting: The municipality straddles the N3 national road. Its seat of power is in Estcourt. Other towns that fall in it are Weenen and Frere. The municipality abuts the uKhahlambha-Drakensberg mountains.  

The current seat allocation: The IFP (21 seats) and the DA (three) have a majority in the 47-seat council. The ANC has 17, the National Freedom Party (NFP) three, the EFF two and an independent one to complete the council. 

The three by-elections: Three IFP ward councillors were expelled from the party for allegedly accepting bribes of R100,000 each to support a petition calling for the removal of the IFP mayor of the municipality. Two of the three expelled councillors ran in the by-elections as independents, eager to win their seats back. The IFP would need to reach out to the sole independent councillor if it lost one of the three seats. If it lost two or more it would need to reach a deal with the NFP councillors in this municipality, and hope that the NFP councillors in the municipality took a different view on who to partner with than the parliamentary leadership of the NFP, which prefers to work with the ANC. 

Ward 5 (Loskop, Etatane), iNkosi Langalibalele in uThukela: IFP 41% (70%) Ind-Mkhize (incumbent) 31% ANC 25% (21%)  EFF 2% (2%) UCM 1% (2%)

The setting: Ward 5 is west of Estcourt, on the road to Injisuthi in the Drakensberg mountains, near the Lesotho border. 

The 2021 local government elections. The IFP won this ward by a landslide, with more than two-thirds of the vote in each of the three voting districts.

The by-election: Vusimuzi Mkhize, one of the three expelled councillors, threw his hat into the ring as he went head-to-head with his former party. The IFP was given a major fright by Mkhize. The IFP beat him by 185 votes, with the ANC also showing some growth.

The IFP won two of the three voting districts. Its best result was 44% at the vote-rich Geza Primary School in Etatane. Mkhize won the second-most populous district in the ward at Phumalanga Primary School in Engonyameni. The ANC showed growth in all three districts.  

Poll: 48% (53%)

Ward 14 (KwaSobabili, Emdwebu) iNkosi Langalibalele: ANC 55%(34% PR ) IFP 38% (48% PR) Ind-Magwaza (incumbent) 4% EFF 2% (5% PR) UCM 1% (2% PR) SUN <1%

The setting: Ward 14 comprises three rural villages west of Estcourt, towards Lesotho. They are KwaSobabili, Emdwebu and Goodhome. 

The 2021 local government elections: The IFP beat the ANC by just more than 250 votes on the ward ballot, and just more than 260 on the proportional representation (PR) ballot. An independent candidate took votes off the ANC and the IFP to finish third on the ward ballot. 

The ANC won three of the five voting districts on the PR ballot. It carried the two voting districts in Emdwebu and the district of Goodhome. The IFP overcame the ANC by winning the most vote-rich district in the ward in KwaSobabili by a landslide. The IFP bested the ANC by 378 votes. The IFP also won the African Congregational Church district, which has only about 5% of the voters in the ward – by a large margin. This district also had the most handsome of turnouts (77%), way above the ward average of 55%.

The by-election: Mlwane Magwaza, also one of the three expelled councillors, stood as an independent in this by-election. He was joined on the ballot by the ANC and the EFF, all eager to upend the IFP here. 

Magwaza barely made a dent. The ANC was able to win over 50% of the vote, and a vital contest, which is important in the local context but also crucial on the road to 2024. The party grew in every village and every voting district and was able to get 356 more votes than the IFP in Ward 14. 

No voting districts changed hands but the IFP’s vote share fell sharply in three of the five districts. At Mothamo Primary School in Emdwebu, the part of the ward where most voters are based, the IFP fell from 73% to 47%, while the ANC more than doubled its support, climbing from 18% to 38%. The village of KwaSobabili was key to the ANC’s win. It won 46% and 50% in the two districts in the village in 2021. In the by-election it won a respective 65% and 70%. 

Poll: 56% (55%)

Ward 21 (Weenen Emngwenya), iNkosi Langalibalele in uThukela: IFP 56% (50%) ANC 43% (43%) EFF 1% (1%) UCM 1% (<1%)

The setting: The small town of Weenen is east of Estcourt on the R74 road between Colenso and Greytown. Weenen is known for its farming, including citrus, lucerne and groundnuts. There is also river rafting in the area. The ward includes the Ezitendeni township which is next to Weenen. The other part of the ward is the Emngwenya area, south of Weenen. This rural area comprises farms and villages. 

The 2021 local government elections: The IFP and ANC were back and forth in this ward, with the IFP carrying four of the seven voting districts and the ANC the remaining three. The IFP received 189 more votes than the ANC. Where the ANC beat the IFP, the margins were close. The IFP won the two most vote-rich districts in the ward, including Ezintendeni township, where it beat the ANC by 107 votes. 

The by-election: This is the only ward where one of the expelled councillors was not running to win their seat backThe IFP and ANC exchanged two voting districts in another close contest. The difference this time was the IFP’s returns at Ezitendeni Hall in the Ezitendeni township. This is where most voters live in Ward 21. The IFP gained the most from the National Freedom Party’s (NFP) absence from the ballot as it grew from 50% to 57%, while the ANC went from 38% to 40%. In 2021, the NFP got 10% in this district. The relatively small Mkholombe district was also key. The IFP won 75% here, up from the 59% in 2021. The ANC receded from 39% to 24%. 

Poll: 64% (63%)

The new iNkosi Langalibalele council composition sees independent councillor Sihle Ngwenya from Zwelisha near Estcourt emerge as the kingmaker. IFP 20 (21) + DA equals 23 seats. The ANC 18 (17) + NFP 3 + EFF 2 also equals 23 seats. There are 47 seats in the council. The independent councillor will determine whether the IFP keeps the mayoral chain or whether the ANC and one its allies get to wear it.

Ward 29 (Oqungweni Mhlumayo) Alfred Duma in uThukela: IFP 53% (51%) ANC 44% (33%) EFF 1% (3%) UCM 1% (5%) Ind-Nsele 1% (incumbent)

The setting: Ward 29 is a rural ward east of Ladysmith. It consists of numerous villages and farms. Ladysmith is the seat of power in Alfred Duma. Alfred Duma includes the villages of Colenso and Van Reenen near the border with the Free State. 

The 2021 local government elections: The IFP beat the ANC by more than 500 votes in the ward. It finished top in seven of the eight voting districts. 

The ANC lost 18 seats in Alfred Duma in 2021 as it fell from 46 seats to 28. The main beneficiary here was the IFP which went from 16 seats to 33. The IFP was backed by the EFF (five seats) and the DA (three). This combined total of 41 seats gave the IFP enough support to get over the line in the 73-seat council. 

There is a range of parties with a single seat in the council – the National Freedom Party (NFP), National People’s Ambassadors (NPA), a left-wing regional party, African People’s Movement (APEMO) and the Abantu Batho Congress (ABC). 

The by-election: Phasika Nsele, the IFP ward councillor, signed a motion put forward by the NPA to oust the IFP mayor. Nsele tried to remove his name from the motion. The original act still contributed to his expulsion from the party. Nsele decided to stand as an independent to win this seat back. 

Despite the controversy over whether Nsele supported the motion, the ANC still has the numbers to ultimately oust the IFP/DA coalition in Alfred Duma. The ANC and its allies have 37 of the 73 seats. The ANC works with the EFF, APEMO and NFP in other municipalities. The NPA has also shown its intent by putting the motion of no confidence forward. The saving grace for the IFP and the DA might be the discord within the NFP, where this councillor decides to work with the IFP rather than the ANC.

The former ward councillor finished last in the by-election. The IFP had a slight increase on its 2021 showing, with the ANC growing at the expense of the United Cultural Movement (UCM) party to finish in a strong second place. The IFP won seven of the eight voting districts again, and the ANC one. The latter made big advances in the most vote-rich district of the ward. The IFP matched its 52% showing from 2021 at Mgabo Primary School in Mhlumayo, while the ANC leapt from 23% to 47%. 

Poll: 62% (65%)

Western Cape

Ward 107 (Parklands, Table View) Cape Town DA: 94% (82%) CAPE  2% (2%)  ANC 2% (4%) EFF 2% (4%) OHM <1% (<1%)

The setting: Ward 107 is north of Milnerton. It includes Parklands, some of Table View, including the Bayside Mall and a section of Marine Drive. It also includes Sunningdale and a token of Blouberg Rise. 

The 2021 local government elections: The DA won here by a canter but was down a few percentage points from the 88% it received in 2016. The DA won over 80% of the vote in five of the six voting districts. It was more challenging at Christian Brothers College St John’s School in Parklands where the party won 68%. 

The by-election: The ward councillor took up the opportunity to study overseas. The DA won by a country mile here, with between 94% and 97% of the vote in five of the six voting districts. 

Only 11% of voters turned out in the Christian Brothers College St John’s School in Parklands. This was the only district where the ANC and EFF hit double figures in 2021. The DA grew from 68% to 84%, while the ANC and EFF went from a respective 11% and 10% to 7% each. 

Poll: 21% (55%)

Mpumalanga

Ward 12 (Ethandakukhanya), Mkhondo in Gert Sibande: ANC 67% (62%) EFF 20% (29%) Ind-Mncube 8% IFP 5% (2%)

The setting: Ethandakukhanya is a township southwest of the Emkhondo (formerly Piet Retief) town centre. The municipality borders Eswatini and includes the small towns of Amsterdam and Dirkiesdorp. It forms part of the broader Gert Sibande District whose seat of power is in Ermelo. 

The 2021 local government elections: The ANC beat the EFF by a margin of just over 2:1 votes in this ward. They were the only two parties at the races in this particular ward. 

The ANC won an outright majority in Mkhondo but lost eight of its 29 seats to end on 21 in the 39-seat municipality. It lost ground to the EFF and independent candidates. The EFF more than doubled its seat allocation – from three to seven – to become the official opposition in Mkhondo. Independents won two wards in the municipality. 

Despite the ANC winning a clear majority in 2021, independent councillor Mthokozi Simelane was elected mayor, with the ATM bagging the speaker position. There was much internal rancour within the ANC, and this factionalism resulted in the party not uniting behind one candidate for mayor. This saw six ANC councillors refusing to participate in the election of the mayor, which allowed Simelane to get in via the back door. 

A resident leaves the voting station after casting her vote in Finetown, south of Johannesburg. (Photo: Kabelo Mokoena)

The by-election: The ANC sorted out the mayoral mess by retaining all five seats in the by-elections and then electing their preferred choice for mayor. The political stability in Mkhondo was short-lived. Ward 12 councillor, Sbonelo Ntshangase was assassinated in January. Ntshangase made a video shortly before his assassination, warning that he was likely to be killed for exposing corruption, and in turn also named those who would kill him. 

This was the 10th by-election in Mkhondo since the 2021 local government elections. The ANC had won nine out of nine by-elections in this Mpumalanga municipality and was aiming for a 10th successive win. 

The ANC had a great showing here, winning more than two-thirds of the vote. It increased its percentage vote share in both voting districts. The EFF’s support fell sharply at Amadlelo Amuhlaza High School, where it declined from 36% to 21%. The independent candidate affected the EFF in this district, winning 13% of the vote. 

Poll: 37% (44%)

Ward 14 (Middelburg, Clubville) Steve Tshwete in Nkangala: DA 97% (80%) MHRF 2% (3%) ANC 1% (3%) EFF 0 (1%)

The setting: Ward 12 is in the heart of Middelburg, the seat of Steve Tshwete. It is next to the Middelburg Country Club. Other towns in Steve Tshwete include the coal mining town of Hendrina. The area is known for its stainless steel, coal and farming. It forms part of the Nkangala District. The seat of the district is also in Middelburg.

The 2021 local government elections: The DA won this ward by a landslide. However, the FF+ was able to get into double figures and make an impact in the ward. 

The ANC lost significant ground in Steve Tshwete in 2021. The party lost 11 seats, falling from 32 to 21. A local party, the Middelburg & Hendrina Residents Front (MHRF), hurt the ANC with its seven-seat haul. The DA came second with 17. The EFF also dented the ANC as it grew from seven seats to nine. The FF+ also grew from two seats to three and an independent won one ward in the 58-seat council. 

The ANC runs a minority government with the support of an independent councillor. Together they have 22 of the 58 seats, eight short of a majority. 

The by-election: Veteran councillor Jos Pretorius had to resign because of ill-health. The FF+ elected not to contest the by-election. The DA recorded its best result in this round of by-elections here. It won 95% and 98% in the two districts. The MHRF will be disappointed with its showing. 

Poll: 27% (59%)

The next round of by-elections is on 19 July. There will be four in Mangaung, three in George in the Western Cape, two in KwaZulu-Natal and one each in the Eastern Cape and North West. DM

* The DA candidate withdrew from the race, so the party did not actively contest. It did however remain on the ballot.

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